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Exercise leads to marked increases in muscle insulin sensitivity and glucose effectiveness. Oral glucose tolerance immediately after exercise is generally not improved. The hypothesis tested by these experiments is that after exercise the increased muscle glucose uptake during an intestinal glucose load is counterbalanced by an increase in the efficiency with which glucose enters the circulation and that this occurs due to an increase in intestinal glucose absorption or decrease in hepatic glucose disposal. For this purpose, sampling (artery and portal, hepatic, and femoral veins) and infusion (vena cava, duodenum) catheters and Doppler flow probes (portal vein, hepatic artery, external iliac artery) were implanted 17 d before study. Overnightfasted dogs were studied after 150 min of moderate treadmill exercise or an equal duration rest period. Glucose ([14C]glucose labeled) was infused in the duodenum at 8 mg/kg x min for 150 min beginning 30 min after exercise or rest periods. Values, depending on the specific variable, are the mean +/- SE for six to eight dogs. Measurements are from the last 60 min of the intraduodenal glucose infusion. In response to intraduodenal glucose, arterial plasma glucose rose more in exercised (103 +/- 4 to 154 +/- 6 mg/dl) compared with rested (104 +/- 2 to 139 +/- 3 mg/dl) dogs. The greater increase in glucose occurred even though net limb glucose uptake was elevated after exercise (35 +/- 5 vs. 20 +/- 2 mg/min) as net splanchnic glucose output (5.1 +/- 0.8 vs. 2.1 +/- 0.6 mg/kg x min) and systemic appearance of intraduodenal glucose (8.1 +/- 0.6 vs. 6.3 +/- 0.7 mg/kg x min) were also increased due to a higher net gut glucose output (6.1 +/- 0.7 vs. 3.6 +/- 0.9 mg/kg x min). Adaptations at the muscle led to increased net glycogen deposition after exercise [1.4 +/- 0.3 vs. 0.5 +/- 0.1 mg/(gram of tissue x 150 min)], while no such increase in glycogen storage was seen in liver [3.9 +/- 1.0 vs. 4.1 +/- 1.1 mg/(gram of tissue x 150 min) in exercised and sedentary animals, respectively]. These experiments show that the increase in the ability of previously working muscle to store glycogen is not solely a result of changes at the muscle itself, but is also a result of changes in the splanchnic bed that increase the efficiency with which oral glucose is made available in the systemic circulation.