This report describes the pulmonary vascular response of infant lamb lung to abrupt cessation of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) during volume-regulated continuous positive-pressure breathing (CPPB). In an intact, endobronchially ventilated preparation, the increase in left lung blood flow (QL) after abrupt cessation of 11 Torr left lung PEEP was found to be gradual, although peak airway pressure (Pmax) fell promptly from 36 to 14 Torr; 49% of the increase in QL occurred greater than 10 s after cessation of PEEP. Recruitment of zone I vasculature that had been created by balloon occlusion of the left pulmonary artery was found to occur promptly after balloon deflation. Isolated neonatal lamb lungs, perfused at constant flow rate, showed similar persistent elevation of pulmonary vascular resistance after cessation of 15 Torr PEEP, although Pmax fell abruptly from 39 to 12 Torr. This hysteresis was eliminated by calcium channel blockade with verapamil, and the magnitude of the change in pulmonary arterial pressure after either application or cessation of PEEP was reduced (25 and 26%, respectively). These observations suggest that, during CPPB, lung stretch alters neonatal pulmonary vascular tone or, by causing calcium channel-dependent lung volume hysteresis, modulates pulmonary vascular resistance. This interaction exaggerates the effect of airway pressure changes on pulmonary vascular resistance during mechanical ventilation.