Objectives: We examined the hypothesis that angiotensin II (ANG II) is a modulator of acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) by looking at the effect of losartan, a selective type 1 ANG II receptor antagonist, on acute HPV in man.
Methods: Ten normal volunteers were studied on two separate days. They either received pre-treatment with losartan 25, 50, 100, 100 mg respectively on four consecutive days or matched placebo. They were then rendered hypoxaemic, by breathing an N2/O2 mixture for 20 min to achieve an SaO2 of 85-90% adjusted for a further 20 min to achieve an SaO2 of 75-80%. Pulsed wave Doppler echocardiography was used to measure mean pulmonary artery pressure (MPAP), cardiac output and hence pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR).
Results: Baseline MPAP and PVR (during normoxaemia) were unaffected by losartan pre-treatment compared with placebo. However, losartan significantly reduced MPAP at both levels of hypoxaemia compared with placebo: 14.7 +/- 0.7 vs 19.0 +/- 0.7 mmHg at an SaO2 85-90% (P < 0.01) and 20.0 +/- 0.7 vs 25.7 +/- 0.8 mmHg at an SaO2 75-80% (P < 0.05) respectively. Similarly losartan significantly reduced PVR compared to placebo: 191 +/- 9 vs 246 +/- 10 dyne.s.cm-5 at an SaO2 85-90% (P < 0.005) and 233 +/- 12 vs 293 +/- 18 dyne.s.cm-5 at an SaO2 75-80% (P < 0.05), respectively. Pre-treatment with losartan, however, had no significant effect on systemic vascular resistance although losartan compared to placebo resulted in a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in mean arterial pressure at an SaO2 75-80%: 78 +/- 2 vs 87 +/- 2 mmHg.
Conclusions: Losartan had no effect on baseline pulmonary haemodynamics but significantly attenuated acute hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, suggesting that angiotensin II plays a role in modulating this response in man via its effects on the type 1 angiotensin II receptor.