Hlastala, M. P., W. J. Lamm, A. Karp, N. L. Polissar, I. R. Starr and R. W. Glenny. Spatial distribution of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in the supine pig. J Appl Physiol. 96:1589-99, 2004.

Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) serves to maintain optimal gas exchange by decreasing perfusion to hypoxic regions. However, global hypoxia and nonuniform HPV may result in overperfusion of poorly constricted regions leading to local edema seen in high-altitude pulmonary edema. To quantify the spatial distribution of HPV and its response to regional Po2 (Pr(O2)) among small lung regions, five pigs were anesthetized and mechanically ventilated in the supine posture. The animals were ventilated with an inspired O2 fraction (Fi(O2)) of 0.50 and 0.21 and then (in random order) 0.15, 0.12, and 0.09. Regional blood flow (Q) and alveolar ventilation (Va) were measured by using intravenous infusion of 15 microm and inhalation of 1-microm fluorescent microspheres, respectively. Pr(O2) was calculated for each piece at each Fi(O2). Lung pieces differed in their Q response to hypoxia in a manner related to their initial Va/Q with Fi(O2) = 0.21. Reducing Fi(O2) < 0.15 decreased Q to the initially high Va/Q (higher Pr(O2)) regions and forced Q into the low Va/Q (dorsal-caudal) regions. Resistance increased in most lung pieces as Pr(O2) decreased, reaching a maximum resistance when Pr(O2) is between 40 and 50 Torr. Local resistance decreased at PrO2 < 40 Torr. Pieces were statistically clustered with respect to their relative Q response pattern to each Fi(O2). Some clusters were shown to be spatially organized. We conclude that HPV is spatially heterogeneous. The heterogeneity of Q response may be related, in part, to the heterogeneity of baseline Va/Q.