To investigate the mechanisms responsible for the late-phase response in patients with allergies, we measured four biochemical mediators (histamine, tosyl-L-arginine methyl ester [TAME]-esterase, kinin, and prostaglandin D2) in nasal secretions after nasal challenge with pollen antigen in 12 patients with allergy. Nine patients had an immediate response and a recurrence of symptoms 3 to 11 hours after challenge. The clinical symptoms during recurrence were accompanied by a second increase in levels of histamine, TAME--esterase, and kinin over base-line values, although kinin levels were lower than during the immediate response. In contrast, although the levels of prostaglandin D2 were significantly increased during the immediate response, they did not increase above base line during the late response. Rechallenge with allergen 11 hours after the initial provocation, however, was associated with reappearance of all four biochemical mediators, including prostaglandin D2. We conclude that the late response to nasal challenge with allergen is accompanied by a second increase in the concentrations of histamine and TAME--esterase but differs from the immediate response in the lack of prostaglandin D2 production and in the amount of kinin generated. Since histamine is released only by mast cells and basophils and prostaglandin D2 is not produced by basophils, we suggest that these cells are partly responsible for the late-phase response.