Chopped human nasal polyps and bronchial tissue produced lipoxin A4 and isomers of lipoxins A4 and B4, but not lipoxin B4, after incubation with exogenous leukotriene A4. In addition, these tissues transformed arachidonic acid to 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid. The capacity per gram of tissue to produce lipoxins and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid was 3-5-times higher in the nasal polyps. Neither tissue produced detectable levels of lipoxins or leukotrienes after incubation with ionophore A23187 and arachidonic acid. Co-incubation of nasal polyps and polymorphonuclear granulocytes with ionophore A23187 led to the formation of lipoxins, including lipoxins A4 and B4. The results indicate the involvement of an epithelial 15-lipoxygenase in lipoxin formation in human airways.