p59fynT is a protein tyrosine kinase in the src family that has been associated with and believed to function in the signaling of many receptors, including the T-cell receptor. A role for the kinase in antigen-driven pulmonary inflammation was examined using mice whose p59fynT gene had been genetically ablated. FynKO mice that were sensitized to ovalbumin exhibited a marked increase in bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophils and cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-5, relative to wild-type mice in response to antigen aerosol exposure. Ovalbumin-stimulated IL-5 production was also increased in cultured splenocytes derived from fynKO mice relative to wild-type mice, whereas interferon-gamma levels were unchanged. Diminished concanavalin A--stimulated IL-4 levels from fynKO splenocytes were consistent with reduced serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels observed in sensitized/saline aerosol-challenged animals and may reflect defective natural killer 1.1(+) T cell development. Normalization of IgE levels in sensitized fynKO mice relative to wild-type mice occurred after repeat antigen challenge, which suggests a secondary source of IL-4. Overall, these data demonstrate fyn is a negative regulator of allergic airway inflammation in mice because its absence promotes a shift to a T helper-2 phenotype that may reflect the kinase's role in T-cell receptor signaling.