What is the meaning of these findings to the practicing chest physician? First, leukotrienes are potent airway constrictors; they are capable of reproducing the type of airway constriction observed in asthma. The role of leukotrienes in this regard has yet to be established, but experiments to test the importance of these agents in this setting are likely to be performed soon. Specifically, several leukotriene receptor antagonists or synthesis inhibitors have been identified and may provide the tools needed to test this crucial hypothesis. Second, the leukotrienes are unique bronchoactive agents in that the degree of hyperresponsiveness between normal and asthmatic subjects varies markedly with the bronchoconstrictor index used to assess response. When one compares normal subjects to asthmatic subjects, there is substantial overlap in leukotriene sensitivity among groups when V30-P is used as the bronchoconstrictor index. However, when the FEV1 is used as the bronchoconstrictor index, there is little overlap in sensitivity between normal and asthmatic subjects, and the separation between the two groups is even more clearly made than it is with histamine or methacholine challenge. Thus, LTD4 inhalation challenge may replace the histamine and methacholine challenges in the diagnosis of cryptic shortness of breath. Third, the differential sensitivity of various bronchoconstrictor indices in both normal and asthmatic subjects when leukotrienes are used may provide clues as to the locus of airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. Thus, leukotrienes hold the promise of new ways to treat and diagnose asthma, as well as providing new insights into the pathobiology of the disease itself.