Virtually all tissues in the human body rely on aerobic metabolism for energy production and are therefore critically dependent on continuous supply of oxygen. Oxygen is provided by blood flow, and, in essence, changes in organ perfusion are also closely associated with alterations in tissue metabolism. In response to acute exercise, blood flow is markedly increased in contracting skeletal muscles and myocardium, but perfusion in other organs (brain and bone) is only slightly enhanced or is even reduced (visceral organs). Despite largely unchanged metabolism and perfusion, repeated exposures to altered hemodynamics and hormonal milieu produced by acute exercise, long-term exercise training appears to be capable of inducing effects also in tissues other than muscles that may yield health benefits. However, the physiological adaptations and driving-force mechanisms in organs such as brain, liver, pancreas, gut, bone, and adipose tissue, remain largely obscure in humans. Along these lines, this review integrates current information on physiological responses to acute exercise and to long-term physical training in major metabolically active human organs. Knowledge is mostly provided based on the state-of-the-art, noninvasive human imaging studies, and directions for future novel research are proposed throughout the review.
- EMC COEUR-09