The optimal Fi(O2) during neonatal resuscitation is a subject of controversy. The effect of exposure to high levels of inspired oxygen on pulmonary arterial (PA) contractility is not known. We studied differences in PA vasoreactivity in term lambs initially ventilated with 21% or 100% oxygen, followed by continued ventilation using oxygen as needed for 24 h, or ventilated with 100% oxygen for 24 h and room air breathing 1-d-old lambs. Term lambs were delivered by cesarean section, intubated, and ventilated with 21% (21%Res) or 100% oxygen (100%Res) for the first 30 min of life. Subsequently, the ventilator Fi(O2) was adjusted to maintain a Pa(O2) between 45 and 65 mm Hg for 24 h. Five lambs were ventilated continuously with 100% oxygen (100%24h). Six spontaneously breathing newborn lambs (RA Spont) were studied for comparison. Lambs were killed at 24 h of life and PA rings were isolated and contracted with norepinephrine (NE) and KCl and some were relaxed with A23187 and SNAP in tissue baths. NE and KCl induced contractions were highest in PA isolated from 100%24h lambs, and were significantly higher in 100%Res lambs than PA from 21%Res lambs. Contraction responses in PA from RA Spont lambs were similar to 21%Res lambs. Relaxations to A23187 and SNAP were similar among all ventilated groups. PA contractility to NE and KCl is increased following both brief (30 min) and prolonged (24 h) exposure to 100% oxygen during mechanical ventilation. In contrast, normoxic resuscitation and ventilation do not increase PA contractility.