Glenny, R. W., H. T. Robertson and M. P. Hlastala. Vasomotor tone does not affect perfusion heterogeneity and gas exchange in normal primate lungs during normoxia. Journal Of Applied Physiology. 89:2263-2267, 2000.
To determine whether vasoregulation is an important cause of pulmonary perfusion heterogeneity, we measured regional blood flow and gas exchange before and after giving prostacyclin (PGI(2)) to baboons. Four animals were anesthetized with ketamine and mechanically ventilated. Fluorescent microspheres were used to mark regional perfusion before and after PGI, infusion. The lungs were subsequently excised, dried inflated, and diced into similar to2-cm(3) pieces (n = 1,208-1,629 per animal) with the spatial coordinates recorded for each piece. Blood flow to each piece was determined for each condition from the fluorescent signals. Blood flow heterogeneity did not change with PGI, infusion. Two other measures of spatial blood flow distribution, the fractal dimension and the spatial correlation, did not change with PGI, infusion. Alveolar-arterial O-2 differences did not change with PGI(2) infusion. We conclude that, in normal primate lungs during normoxia, vasomotor tone is not a significant cause of perfusion heterogeneity. Despite the heterogeneous distribution of blood flow, active regulation of regional perfusion is not required for efficient gas exchange.