Changes in regional cerebral blood flow distribution during postexercise hypotension in humans

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This investigation compared patterns of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during exercise recovery both with and without postexercise hypotension (PEH). Eight subjects were studied on 3 days with randomly assigned conditions: 1) after 30 min of rest; 2) after 30 min of moderate exercise (M-Ex) at 60-70% heart rate (HR) reserve during PEH; and 3) after 30 min of light exercise (L-Ex) at 20% HR reserve with no PEH. Data were collected for HR, mean blood pressure (MBP), and ratings of perceived exertion and relaxation, and rCBF was assessed by use of single-photon-emission computed tomography. With the use of ANOVA across conditions, there were differences (P < 0.05; mean ± SD) from rest during exercise recovery from M-Ex (HR = +12 ± 3 beats/min; MBP = -9 ± 2 mmHg), but not from L-Ex (HR = +2 ± 2 beats/min; MBP = -2 ± 2 mmHg). After M-Ex, there were decreases (P < 0.05) for the anterior cingulate (-6.7 ± 2%), right and left inferior thalamus (-10 ± 3%), right inferior insula (-13 ± 3%), and left inferior anterior insula (-8 ± 3%), not observed after L-Ex. There were rCBF decreases for leg sensorimotor regions after both M-Ex (-15 ± 4%) and L-Ex (-12 ± 3%) and for the left superior anterior insula (-7 ± 3% and -6 ± 3%), respectively. Data show that there are rCBF reductions within specific regions of the insular cortex and anterior cingulate cortex coupled with a postexercise hypotensive response after M-Ex. Findings suggest that these cerebral cortical regions, previously implicated in cardiovascular regulation during exercise, may also be involved in PEH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-724
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Brain mapping
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Single-photon-emission computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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