Severe pulmonary hypertension and arterial adventitial changes in newborn calves at 4,300 m

K. R. Stenmark, J. Fasules, D. M. Hyde, N. F. Voelkel, J. Henson, A. Tucker, H. Wilson, J. T. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Some human newborns have a syndrome characterized by irreversible pulmonary hypertension and severe hypoxemia and by medial hypertrophy and adventitial thickening of pulmonary arteries. We considered that newborn calves made severely hypoxic might reproduce features of the human disease. When 2-day-old calves were placed at 4,300 m simulated altitude, pulmonary arterial pressure was increased and could be reversed by 100% O2. However, after 2 wk at 4,300 m, pulmonary arterial pressures were suprasystemic and there was right-to-left shunting probably through the foramen ovale and a patent but restrictive ductus arteriosus. Suprasystemic pulmonary pressure and hypoxemia persisted with 100% O2 breathing. Morphometrical examination of the lung arteries showed a markedly thickened adventitia with cellular proliferation and collagen and elastin deposition. There was increased medial thickness and distal muscularization of the pulmonary arteries associated with decreased luminal diameter. The rapid development of severe pulmonary hypertension and poor responsiveness to O2 was associated with increased arterial wall thickness, particularly involving the adventitia. Thus the pulmonary arterial circulation in these calves, which were placed at high altitude for 2 wk, exhibited features resembling persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborn infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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