Hyperventilation (respiratory alkalosis) is an important treatment for persistent pulmonary hypertension in neonates. The precise way that hyperventilation attenuates hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is unclear. We studied the effect of alkalosis on hypoxia-induced pulmonary vasoconstriction in 13 acutely instrumented, pentobarbital anesthetized, neonatal lambs. We specifically examined the relative effects of a metabolic alkalosis versus a respiratory alkalosis on hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and compared these results to the control response to hypoxia without alkalosis. Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction was significantly milder whenever the animal was alkalotic, regardless of whether the alkalosis was respiratory or metabolic. Thus, the elevated pH, rather than decreased Paco2 during hyperventilation appears to be the major factor in moderating the response of the pulmonary vessels to acute hypoxia in this neonatal lamb, model. © 1985 International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.