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The relationship between regional variabilities in airflow (ventilation) and blood flow (perfusion) is a critical determinant of gas exchange efficiency in the lungs. Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is understood to be the primary active regulator of ventilation-perfusion matching, where upstream arterioles constrict to direct blood flow away from areas that have low oxygen supply. However, it is not understood how the integrated action of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction affects oxygen transport at the system level. In this study we develop, and make functional predictions with a multi-scale multi-physics model of ventilation-perfusion matching governed by the mechanism of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Our model consists of (a) morphometrically realistic 2D pulmonary vascular networks to the level of large arterioles and venules; (b) a tileable lumped-parameter model of vascular fluid and wall mechanics that accounts for the influence of alveolar pressure; (c) oxygen transport accounting for oxygen bound to hemoglobin and dissolved in plasma; and (d) a novel empirical model of hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Our model simulations predict that under the artificial test condition of a uniform ventilation distribution (1) hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction matches perfusion to ventilation; (2) hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction homogenizes regional alveolar-capillary oxygen flux; and (3) hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction increases whole-lobe oxygen uptake by improving ventilation-perfusion matching.


Andrew D Marquis, Filip Jezek, David J Pinsky, Daniel A Beard. Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction as a regulator of alveolar-capillary oxygen flux: A computational model of ventilation-perfusion matching. PLoS computational biology. 2021 May;17(5):e1008861

PMID: 33956786

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