Pulmonary haemodynamics and the histology of the pulmonary vasculature have been studied at high altitude in the yak, in interbreeds between yaks and cattle, and in domestic goats and sheep indigenous to high altitudes together with crosses between them and low-altitude strains. Cattle at high altitude had a higher pulmonary arterial pressure than cattle at low altitude. The yak and two interbreeds with cattle (dzos and stols) had a low pulmonary arterial pressure compared with cattle, while the medial thickness of the small pulmonary arteries was less than would be expected in cattle, suggesting that the yak has a low capacity for hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and that this characteristic is transmitted genetically. Goats and sheep showed haemodynamic evidence of a limited response of the pulmonary circulation to high altitude, but no evidence that the high altitude breeds had lost this response. There were no measurable differences in the thickness of the media of the small pulmonary arteries between high- and low-altitude breeds of goats and sheep. All these species showed prominent intimal protrusions of muscle into the pulmonary veins but no specific effect of high altitude in this respect.
- High altitude
- Pulmonary circulation