We found that forskolin (10(-7) to 3 X 10(-5) M) caused dose-related inhibition of antigen-induced histamine release from human basophil leukocytes. The dose-response inhibition curve was paralleled by a forskolin-induced increase in cyclic AMP (cAMP) levels in human leukocyte preparations. The kinetics of inhibition of histamine release and of the increase in leukocyte cAMP were the same. In a second series of experiments we evaluated the effect of forskolin on antigen-induced histamine release from chopped human lung passively sensitized with serum from an allergic patient. Forskolin (10(-7) to 3 X 10(-5) M) dose-dependently inhibited the release of histamine from human lung mast cells. Thus forskolin appears to modulate the release of mediators of the immediate hypersensitivity reaction, presumably through activation of adenylate cyclase in human basophils and mast cells.