To determine whether the strength of acute hypoxic vasoconstriction predicts the magnitude of chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension, we performed serial studies on guinea pigs. Unanesthetized, chronically catheterized guinea pigs increased mean pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) from 11 ± 0.5 to 13 ± 0.7 Torr in acute hypoxia (10% O2 for 65 min). The response was maximal at 5 min, remained stable for 1 h, and was reversible on return to room air. Cardiac index did not change with acute hypoxia or recovery. Guinea pigs exposed to chronic hypoxia increased PAP, measured in room air 1 h after removal from the hypoxic chamber, to 18 ± 1 Torr by 5 days with little further increase in PAP to 20 ± 1 Torr after 21 days. Cardiac index fell from 273 ± 12 to 206 ± 7 ml·kg-1·min-1 (P < 0.05) after 21 days of hypoxia. Medial thickness of pulmonary arteries adjacent to terminal bronchioles and alveolar ducts increased significantly by 10 days. The magnitude of the pulmonary vasoconstriction to acute hypoxia persisted and was unabated during the development and apparent stabilization of chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension, suggesting that if vasoconstriction is the stimulus for remodeling, then the importance of the stimulus lessens with duration of hypoxia. In individual animals followed serially, we found no correlation between the magnitude of the acute vasoconstrictor response before chronic hypoxia and the severity of chronic pulmonary hypertension that subsequently developed either because the initial response was small and variable or because vasoconstriction may not be the sole stimulus for vascular remodeling in the guinea pig.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)