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Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 is stabilized by hypoxia and iron chelation. We hypothesized that HIF-1 might be involved in pulmonary vascular regulation and that infusion of desferrioxamine over 8 h would consequently mimic hypoxia and elevate pulmonary vascular resistance. In study A, we characterized the pulmonary vascular response to 4 h of isocapnic hypoxia; in study B, we measured the pulmonary vascular response to 8 h of desferrioxamine infusion. For study A, 11 volunteers undertook two protocols: 1) 4 h of isocapnic hypoxia (end-tidal PO(2) = 50 Torr), followed by 2 h of recovery with isocapnic euoxia (end-tidal PO(2) = 100 Torr), and 2) 6 h of air breathing (control). For study B, nine volunteers undertook two protocols while breathing air: 1) continuous infusion of desferrioxamine (4 g/70 kg) over 8 h and 2) continuous infusion of saline over 8 h (control). In both studies, pulmonary vascular resistance was assessed at 0.5- to 1-h intervals by Doppler echocardiography via the maximum pressure gradient during systole across the tricuspid valve. Results show a progressive rise in pressure gradient over the first 3-4 h with both isocapnic hypoxia (P < 0.001) and desferrioxamine infusion (P < 0.005) to increases of ~16 and 4 Torr, respectively. These results support a role for HIF-regulated gene activation in human hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction.

Original publication




Journal article


J Appl Physiol (1985)

Publication Date





2501 - 2507


Cardiac Output, DNA-Binding Proteins, Deferoxamine, Echocardiography, Female, Heart Rate, Humans, Hypoxia, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Iron Chelating Agents, Male, Nuclear Proteins, Pulmonary Circulation, Stroke Volume, Transcription Factors, Vascular Resistance