Circulating platelets have been implicated in the hypoxic pulmonary pressor response. This study was undertaken to assess the effects of acute hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension on platelet volume and number across the pulmonary circulation in anesthetized newborn lambs. Seven animals were instrumented for measurement of pulmonary vascular resistance. All measurements were made during normoxia and after 5 and 30 minutes of hypoxia (10 to 12% oxygen breathing). Hypoxia caused a doubling of the pulmonary vascular resistance. During hypoxic vasoconstriction, platelet volume decreased rapidly while traversing the lung but was not affected on return to the lung after traversing the systemic circulation. Platelet numbers were unchanged on leaving the lung but were decreased on entering the lung during hypoxia. Our data are consistent with the release of platelet contents in the lung during hypoxic pulmonary hypertension.