To determine if nonspecific bronchial hyperresponsiveness is present to the same degree in previously asthmatic children compared with currently asthmatic children, a longitudinal study was conducted. On the basis of a standardized respiratory questionnaire, 139 children from asthmatic families, between the ages of 6 and 21 years, were identified. Subjects had skin tests, a serum IgE level, and a methacholine challenge test. IgE and skin tests demonstrated atopy in both the previously and currently asthmatic children, which persisted over time. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness within the asthmatic children was not significantly different between visits. Previously asthmatic children did have significantly decreased airway hyperresponsiveness over time. Age did not affect the results of the bronchial hyperresponsiveness in the currently asthmatic children. Currently asthmatic children, however, were significantly more atopic when compared with previously asthmatic children at their initial evaluation. Currently asthmatic children were also more bronchial responsive and remained so over time. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness is persistent in children with current asthma symptoms.