[Pulmonary hypertension and lung edema at high altitude. Role of endothelial dysfunction and fetal programming]

Medicina (B Aires). 2012;72(2):150-7.
[Article in Spanish]


High altitude constitutes an exciting natural laboratory for medical research. While initially, the aim of high-altitude research was to understand the adaptation of the organism to hypoxia and find treatments for altitude-related diseases, over the past decade or so, the scope of this research has broadened considerably. Two important observations led to the foundation for the broadening of the scientific scope of high-altitude research. First, high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) represents a unique model which allows studying fundamental mechanisms of pulmonary hypertension and lung edema in humans. Secondly, the ambient hypoxia associated with high-altitude exposure facilitates the detection of pulmonary and systemic vascular dysfunction at an early stage. Here, we review studies that, by capitalizing on these observations, have led to the description of novel mechanisms underpinning lung edema and pulmonary hypertension and to the first direct demonstration of fetal programming of vascular dysfunction in humans.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / complications
  • Altitude Sickness / embryology
  • Altitude Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / embryology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Fetal Development
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / embryology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide / deficiency
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pulmonary Edema / embryology
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology
  • Pulmonary Edema / physiopathology*


  • Nitric Oxide

Supplementary concepts

  • Pulmonary edema of mountaineers