Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a proinflammatory cytokine and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) is a natural inhibitor that binds to IL-1 receptor type I without inducing signal transduction. It is suggested that IL-1 is required for allergen-specific T helper type 2 cell activation and the development of airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR), but the immunologic effect of exogenous IL-1ra in allergic asthma remains unclear. To examine the effect of IL-1ra on airway inflammation and immunoeffector cells in allergic asthma, recombinant adenovirus expressing human IL-1ra (Ad-hIL-1ra) was delivered intranasally into ovalbumin (OVA)-immunized mice. Single intranasal administration of Ad-hIL-1ra before airway antigen challenge in OVA-immunized mice significantly decreased the severity of AHR and reduced pulmonary infiltration of eosinophils and neutrophils. Suppression of IL-5 and eotaxin with concomitant enhancement of interferon gamma in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was also noted in OVA-immunized mice by administration of Ad-hIL-1ra. In addition, histological studies showed that Ad-hIL-1ra was able to decrease OVA-induced peribronchial inflammation. Taken together, our results indicated that administration of Ad-hIL-1ra may have therapeutic potential for the immunomodulatory treatment of allergic asthma.