The gastrointestinal system anatomically is positioned to perform two distinct functions: to digest and absorb ingested nutrients and to sustain barrier function to prevent transepithelial migration of bacteria and antigens. Alterations in these basic functions contribute to a variety of clinical scenarios. These primary functions intrinsically require splanchnic blood flow at both the macrovascular and microvascular levels of perfusion. Therefore, a greater understanding of the mechanisms that regulate intestinal vascular perfusion in the normal state and during pathophysiological conditions would be beneficial. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current understanding regarding the regulatory mechanisms of intestinal blood flow in fasted and fed conditions and during pathological stress.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.