Hillier, S. C., J. A. Graham, C. C. Hanger, P. S. Godbey, R. W. Glenny and W. W. Wagner. Hypoxic vasoconstriction in pulmonary arterioles and venules. Journal Of Applied Physiology. 82:1084-1090, 1997.

Pulmonary microvessels (<70 mu m) lack a complete muscular media. We tested the hypothesis that these thin-walled vessels do not participate in the hypoxic presser response. Isolated canine lobes were pump perfused at precisely known microvascular pressures. A videomicroscope, coupled to a computerized image-enhancement system, permitted accurate diameter measurements of subpleural arterioles and venules, with each vessel serving as its own control. While vascular pressure was maintained constant throughout the protocol, hypoxia caused an average reduction of 25% of microvessel diameters. The constriction was reversed when nitric oxide was added to the hypoxic gas mixture. The nitric oxide reversal, combined with a lack of lobar blood flow redistribution as measured by fluorescent microspheres, shows that the constriction was active. This response suggests the unexpected potential for active intra-acinar ventilation-perfusion matching.