1. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to study noninvasively the effects of compounds to resolve inflammation induced by ovalbumin (OVA) challenge in the lungs of actively sensitised rats. 2. Marked oedematous signals were detected between 24 and 96 h following OVA in vehicle-treated animals. When administered 24 h after OVA, budesonide, a glucocorticosteroid, or 4-(8-benzo[1,2,5]oxadiazol-5-yl-[1,7]naphthyridin-6-yl)-benzoic acid (NVP-ABE171), a selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, increased the rate of resolution of established oedematous signals detected by MRI. The effect was evident 3 h after drug administration and the signals were nearly fully resolved at 96 h postchallenge. 3. The drug-induced rapid resolution of MRI signals was not accompanied by changes in parameters of inflammation in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, but was associated with perivascular oedema detected histologically. 4. In conclusion, the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on a component of allergic inflammation can be monitored by following with MRI the rate of resolution of the associated oedematous signals.