Immunohistochemistry was performed on lung tissue obtained from patients with severe unexplained pulmonary hypertension using an antibody to the amino-terminal end of the procollagen type I propeptide. This antibody identifies newly synthesized alpha I(I) procollagen before cleavage of the amino-terminal propeptide following secretion and, therefore, can identify sites of active collagen deposition. Procollagen was detected in the media, media and neointima, or neointima alone of a large number of small muscular arteries from hypertensive lungs. Normal adult lungs were negative. Neointimal cells in remodeled small muscular arteries stained positively for alpha-smooth muscle actin and desmin consistent with a smooth muscle lineage. These data suggest smooth muscle-like cells in small muscular arteries are actively synthesizing collagen in patients with severe unexplained pulmonary hypertension.