Redistribution of Blood During Exercise Shunting or Accommodation
Shunting or Accommodation • Blood flow changes dramatically once exercise commences. • At rest, only 15-20% of cardiac output is directed to skeletal muscle (the majority of it goes to the liver (27%) and the kidneys (22%). • Blood is redirected to areas where it is needed most. • This is known as Shunting or Accommodation.
Redistribution of Blood • The redistribution of blood is controlled primarily by the vasoconstriction and vasodilation of arterioles. • It reacts to chemical changes of the local tissues. For example, vasodilation will occur when arterioles sense a decrease in oxygen concentration or an increase in acidity due to higher CO2 and lactic acid concentrations. • Sympathetic nerves also play a major role in redistributing blood from one area of the body to another.
Redistribution of Blood • The smooth muscle layer (tunica media) of the blood vessels is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, and remains in a state of slight contraction known as vasomotor tone. By increasing sympathetic stimulation, vasoconstriction occurs and blood flow is restricted and redistributed to areas of greater need. • When stimulation by sympathetic nerves decreases, vasodilation is allowed which will increase blood flow to that body part.
Redistribution of Blood • Further structures which aid blood redistribution are pre-capillary sphincters. Pre- capillary sphincters are ring shaped muscles which lie at the opening of capillaries and control blood flow into the capillary bed. • When the sphincter contracts, it restricts blood flow through the capillary, and deprives tissues of oxygen; conversely when it relaxes, it increases blood flow to the capillary bed.