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Pulmonary circulation of the llama at high and low altitudes.
  1. P Harris,
  2. D Heath,
  3. P Smith,
  4. D R Williams,
  5. A Ramirez,
  6. H Krüger,
  7. D M Jones

    Abstract

    We have studied the pulmonary circulation of three closely related animals, the llama, alpaca, and guanaco. The mean pulmonary arterial pressure of 12 llamas and one alpaca indigenous to high altitude in the Andes was found to be slightly but significantly higher than that of three llamas and three guanacos born and bred at low altitude in England. On the other hand, the medial thickness of the muscular pulmonary arteries and the relative weights of the two ventricles were the same in three llamas and one alpaca at high altitude as they were in one llama and two guanacos at low altitude. It is concluded that the pulmonary vasoconstrictive response to hypoxia, while present, is greatly reduced in this species and it is suggested that this may have taken place by evolutionary adaptation.

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