Minoxidil reduces pulmonary vascular resistance in dogs and cattle

E. Kenneth Weir, Charles A. Chidsey, John V. Weil, Robert F. Grover

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13 Scopus citations


Minoxidil has a direct dilator effect on the systemic arterial smooth muscle. It is potentially an important drug in the treatment of systemic hypertension, especially when combined with beta blockade, which is used to control the associated tachycardia and increase in cardiac output. However, recent observations have suggested that minoxidil might cause pulmonary hypertension. Consequently, we examined the acute effect of monoxidil and propranolol, separately and in combination, on the pulmonary vasculature of the anesthetized dog and the awake calf during normoxia and hypoxia. In both species minoxidil reduced pulmonary vascular resistance. In the dogs this appeared to be the result of a direct action on the pulmonary vascular smooth muscle and in the cattle it was secondary to β-receptor stimulation. Propranolol alone in the cattle increased the pulmonary pressor response to hypoxia. While we have not examined the possibility that chronic administration of minoxidil might cause pulmonary hypertension by some other mechanism, our acute studies suggest that it reduces, rather than increases, pulmonary vascular resistance. Furthermore, there seems to be a species difference in the mode of its action in dogs and cattle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-894
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1976
Externally publishedYes


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