This study was performed to determine whether lipoxin A4 (LXA4) inhalation in asthmatic subjects has an effect on airways response. Eight subjects (six asthmatic, two normal) attended for bronchial inhalation challenge with LXA4. In three of these subjects (two asthmatics, one normal) blood pressure, pulse, and symptoms before and after challenge were recorded. Subsequently five male patients with mild asthma (22 to 34 yr of age) reattended for bronchial inhalation challenge with either leukotriene C4 (LTC4) or the combination of LTC4 and 1 x 10(-4) M LXA4. After inhalation of each dose of agonist SGaw and V25 were measured. Airway responsiveness was determined by the concentration of agonist in the nebulizer required to induce a 35% fall in SGaw (PC35). There was no effect of LXA4 inhalation on SGaw, V25, blood pressure, pulse, or symptoms. There was a significant shift of the SGaw and V25 dose-response curve to the right after inhalation challenge with LTC4 combined with 1 x 10(-4) M LXA4 as compared with that after inhalation challenge with LTC4 alone (p less than 0.01 and p less than 0.025, respectively). Thus, LXA4 may modulate LTC4-induced airway obstruction and may act as an endogenous sulfidopeptide leukotriene receptor antagonist.