Background: Alveolar hypoxia induces monophasic pulmonary vasoconstriction in vivo, biphasic vasoconstriction in the isolated pulmonary artery, and controversial responses in the isolated perfused lung. Pulmonary vascular responses to sustained alveolar hypoxia have not been addressed in the isolated perfused rat lung. In this study, we investigated the effect of sustained hypoxic ventilation on pulmonary artery pressure in the present of phenylephrine, an α1-receptor agonist, under the above condition.Methods: We performed this study in the isolated perfused rat lung. After preparation, the lungs were divided randomly into five groups of normoxic-normocapnia, hypoxic-normocapnia, phenylephrine pre- or post-treated hypoxic-normocapnia and phenylephrine pre-treated normoxic-normocapnia. Pulmonary hemodynamic, airway pressure and lung weight were measured during 60 min of the experiment for each group.Results: In the phenylephrine-pre-treated hypoxic-normocapnia group we observed a gradual increase in pulmonary artery pressure which approximated the results seen in the phenylephrine-pre-treated normoxic-normocapnia group. In contrast, in the phenylephrine-post-treated hypoxic-normcapnic group, pulmonary artery pressure did not change during the first 3 min of hypoxic-normocapnia. However at 1.5 min after administration of phenylephrine, this pressure began to increase sharply and continued until the end of the experiment. This response was biphasic (0-10 min: acute phase, 10-60 min: sustained phase) with significantly higher pulmonary artery pressure compared to the other groups. Conclusion: This study, for the first time, showed biphasic hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction in the isolated perfused rat lung with the sole administration of phenylephrine after but not before hypoxic gas ventilation. This finding suggested a facilitative role of alveolar hypoxia on pulmonary vasoconstriction induced by an α1-receptor agonist.