Epidemiologic studies report associations between particulate air pollution and increased mortality from pulmonary diseases. This study was performed to examine whether the exposure to ambient gaseous and particulate air pollution leads to an alteration of the differential white blood cell count in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases like chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma. A prospective panel study was conducted in Erfurt, Eastern Germany, with 12 repeated differential white blood cell counts in 38 males with chronic pulmonary diseases. Hourly particulate and gaseous air pollutants and meteorological data were acquired. Mixed models with a random intercept adjusting for trend, meteorology, weekday, and other risk variables were used. In this explorative analysis, we found an immediate decrease of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in response to an increase of most gaseous and particulate pollutants. Lymphocytes increased within 24 h in association with all gaseous pollutants but showed only minor effects in regard to particulate air pollution. Monocytes showed an increase associated with ultrafine particles, and nitrogen monoxide. The effect had two peaks in time, one 0-23 h before blood withdrawal and a second one with a time lag of 48-71 h. The increase of particulate and gaseous air pollution was associated with multiple changes in the differential white blood cell count in patients with chronic pulmonary diseases.