Small pulmonary arterial vessels of Aymara Indians from the Bolivian Andes

Histopathology. 1990 Jun;16(6):565-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.1990.tb01161.x.


A study was made of the qualitative histological features of the small pulmonary arterial vessels of 25 adult citizens of La Paz, Bolivia (altitude 3600 m) coming to necropsy. Abnormalities found included muscularization of pulmonary arterioles, the development of longitudinal muscle in the intima of pulmonary arteries and arterioles, and the formation of muscular tubes lining the longitudinal muscle which extended through arterioles into the precapillaries of the lung. Arteriolar muscularization was found in three of the 13 Aymaras and in two of the 12 Mestizos studied. Intimal longitudinal muscle was present in four Aymaras and five Mestizos. Muscular tubes were found in only one case, a young Aymara. The features were very similar to those found in chronic obstructive airways disease. The appearances are consistent with a growth of new vascular smooth muscle in response to alveolar hypoxia as opposed to hypoxic vasoconstriction.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Altitude*
  • Bolivia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / pathology*
  • Indians, South American*
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Pulmonary Artery / pathology*