The relationship between upper airway inflammation and asthma is controversial. In the current study, we sought to investigate the relationship between allergic rhinitis and lower airway dysfunction by performing double-blind, randomized nasal challenges with allergen or placebo. Subjects were selected for a prior history of asthma exacerbations after the onset of seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms. After the induction of a marked nasal-allergic reaction (with a technique of nasal provocation that limited allergen delivery to the nose), there were no changes in FEV1, specific conductance, or lung volumes either 30 minutes or 4 1/2 hours after nasal allergen challenge, nor any changes in peak flow rates followed hourly until the next day. However, nasal provocation with allergen resulted in a relative increase in bronchial responsiveness to methacholine compared with that to placebo (p = 0.011 at 30 minutes and p = 0.0009 at 4 1/2 hours after challenge). Our study suggests that, although a nasal-allergic response does not induce airflow limitation of the lower airways, it can alter bronchial responsiveness.