Intrapulmonary injections of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) reduce pulmonary arterial pressure and resistance in fetal and hypoxic neonatal lambs without affecting systemic arterial pressure. This apparently specific pulmonary effect of PGD2 could be explained by inactivation of the agent during passage through the pulmonary capillary bed. We therefore studied the effects of both pulmonary and systemic infusions of PGD2 on the acute vascular response to a 1-min episode of hypoxia in newborn lambs. Since PGD2 has been reported to be a pulmonary vasoconstrictor in normoxic lambs, we also evaluated its effects during normoxemia. Pulmonary vascular pressures were not affected by either 1- or 10-micrograms . kg-1 . min-1 infusions into the left atrium or inferior vena cava during normoxia. Infusion of 1 microgram . kg-1 . min-1 PGD2 into the inferior vena cava decreased pulmonary vascular resistance and increased systemic arterial pressure. These two parameters were unchanged with the other three infusion regimens. Mean pulmonary vascular resistance rose 83% with hypoxia and no PGD2. PGD2 prevented any change in pulmonary vascular resistance with hypoxia, while systemic arterial pressure increased (1-microgram . kg-1 . min-1 doses) or was unchanged. Thus PGD2 specifically prevents hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction while maintaining systemic pressures, regardless of infusion site. PGD2 may be indicated in treatment of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and other pulmonary hypertensive disorders.