Vasoconstriction in response to low oxygen tension (hypoxia) in pulmonary arteries is an important physiological adaptation to reroute blood flow to areas of higher oxygenation for effective gaseous exchange. However, chronic hypoxia is a common feature of lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Hypoxic stress triggers cellular phenotypic alterations including increased proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), as well as synthesis of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that remodel lung vasculature. Remodelling of vessels increases the risk of pulmonary hypertension (PH)—elevated pulmonary arterial pressure—and eventually right heart failure. This chapter will summarise the major pathways and mechanisms involved in hypoxia-driven pulmonary hypertension (PH).
Part of the book: Hypoxia and Human Diseases