Isolated perfused lungs exposed to low O2 exhibit a hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction response that is transient in nature. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the isolated pulmonary artery behaves similarly in response to hypoxia. Rat pulmonary arterial rings were placed in tissue baths (37 degrees C, air-5% CO2, pH = 7.4) and attached to force transducers. Maximum contractile responses (Po) to high K+ were elicited. After washout, arterial rings were submaximally contracted and made hypoxic (PO2 = 33.7 +/- 1.3, pH = 7.38 +/- 0.01). Aortic rings were used to obtain comparative data. The isolated pulmonary arterial hypoxic response was biphasic, displaying an initial rapid contraction of short duration (phase 1) then, before complete relaxation of this first response, a second slow but sustained contraction occurred (phase 2). Aortic rings did not exhibit a biphasic response, but showed only an initial short contraction followed by complete relaxation. The contractile response of the pulmonary artery was diminished when the endothelium was rendered nonfunctional. However, the phase 2 response was not endothelium dependent. Neither inhibitors of the lipoxygenase or cyclooxygenase pathways nor scavengers of extracellular reactive oxygen species had any effect on the biphasic hypoxic response. Pulmonary arterial hypoxic contractions were blunted when glucose was absent and appear to be dependent on glycolytic ATP. Results of this study show that hypoxia causes a biphasic contractile response of pulmonary arterial muscle and that two different mechanisms appear to be involved, since the transient phase 1 response is endothelium dependent, whereas the sustained contraction of phase 2 is endothelium independent.
- Copyright © 1991 the American Physiological Society