The effect of immunotherapy (IT) on bronchial response to histamine and on eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in 40 birch pollen-allergic patients with a history of rhinoconjunctivitis and wheezing during the birch season was examined. Twenty patients started IT with birch extract (Pharmacia, Uppsala, Sweden) before the season. The other 20 patients were not treated with IT. Histamine-challenge tests were performed before, at the start, at pollen peak, at the end, and after the birch-pollen season. Blood samples for determination of ECP were collected at the same time. Skin prick tests and nasal provocation tests were also performed before and after the season. A significant increase in bronchial hyperresponsiveness was noted in the group treated with IT and in the untreated group during the season. The increase was greatest in the untreated group with the maximal difference between the two groups at the end of the pollen season (p less than 0.07). IT treatment was followed by significantly less medication and higher peak expiratory flow values. The levels of ECP increased during the season in untreated patients (p less than 0.05) but not in patients treated with IT. The ECP levels of patients from both groups correlated significantly with histamine sensitivity (p less than 0.001).