1. The purpose of these experiments was to use radiolabelled microspheres to measure blood flow distribution within the brain, and in particular to areas associated with motor function, maintenance of equilibrium, cardiorespiratory control, vision, hearing and smell, at rest and during exercise in miniature swine. Exercise consisted of steady-state treadmill running at intensities eliciting 70 and 100 % maximal oxygen consumption (V(O(2),max)). 2. Mean arterial pressure was elevated by 17 and 26 % above that at rest during exercise at 70 and 100 % V(O(2),max), respectively. 3. Mean brain blood flow increased 24 and 25 % at 70 and 100 % V(O(2),max), respectively. Blood flow was not locally elevated to cortical regions associated with motor and somatosensory functions during exercise, but was increased to several subcortical areas that are involved in the control of locomotion. 4. Exercise elevated perfusion and diminished vascular resistance in several regions of the brain related to the maintenance of equilibrium (vestibular nuclear area, cerebellar ventral vermis and floccular lobe), cardiorespiratory control (medulla and pons), and vision (dorsal occipital cortex, superior colliculi and lateral geniculate body). Conversely, blood flow to regions related to hearing (cochlear nuclei, inferior colliculi and temporal cortex) and smell (olfactory bulbs and rhinencephalon) were unaltered by exercise and associated with increases in vascular resistance. 5. The data indicate that blood flow increases as a function of exercise intensity to several areas of the brain associated with integrating sensory input and motor output (anterior and dorsal cerebellar vermis) and the maintenance of equilibrium (vestibular nuclei). Additionally, there was an intensity-dependent decrease of vascular resistance in the dorsal cerebellar vermis.
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