Preprandial aerobic exercise lowers postprandial lipaemia (a risk factor for coronary heart disease); however, the mechanisms responsible are still not clear. The present study investigated whether blood flow to skeletal muscle and/or the liver was increased in the postprandial period after exercise, relative to a control trial, and whether this resulted from increased cardiac output or redistribution of flow. Eight overweight inactive males, aged 49.4±10.5 years (mean±S.D.), acted as their own controls in a counterbalanced design, either walking briskly for 90 min at 60% V̇O2max (maximal oxygen uptake), or resting in the lab, on the evening of day 1. The following morning, a fasting blood sample was collected, participants consumed a high-fat breakfast, and further venous blood samples were drawn hourly for 6 h. Immediately after blood sampling, Doppler ultrasound was used to measure cardiac output and blood flow through both the femoral artery of one leg and the hepatic portal vein, with the ultrasonographer blinded to trial order. The total postprandial triacylglycerol response was 22% lower after exercise (P=0.001). Blood flow through the femoral artery and the hepatic portal vein was increased by 19% (P<0.001) and 16% (P=0.033), respectively, during the 6-h postprandial period following exercise; however, postprandial cardiac output did not differ between trials (P=0.065). Redistribution of blood flow, to both exercised skeletal muscle and the liver, may therefore play a role in reducing the plasma triacylglycerol response to a high-fat meal on the day after an exercise bout.

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