To quantitate the response of respiratory bronchiolar (RB) epithelium and peribronchiolar connective tissue (PCT) to chronic exposure to high ambient levels of ozone, two groups of 8 adult male bonnet monkeys each were subjected 8 h daily for one year to 0.64 ppm (UV standard) ozone or filtered air, respectively. Blocks of tissue selected throughout the lung and from first generation RBs following airway microdissection had the following significant exposure-related changes: 57% greater volume of RB in the lung, 27% smaller diameter of RB lumen, 179% thicker media and intima of peribronchiolar arterioles, 61% thicker RB epithelium, and 77% thicker PCT. The increase in thickness of the RB wall resulted primarily from an 84% increase in PCT, with the remainder from the epithelium. Estimates of cellular numerical density showed an 81% increase in cuboidal bronchiolar cells and an 87% decrease in type 1 pneumocytes in the exposed group. Cell volumes from serial section reconstruction showed significantly larger cuboidal bronchiolar (79%), ciliated (117%), and type 2 (66%) cells over controls. Significant PCT changes included more amorphous extracellular matrix (288%), neutrophils (1523%), and lymphocytes/plasma cells (307%). The number of fibroblasts and the volume of extracellular fibers were larger than control values by 44% and 31% in the exposed group, but these changes were not statistically significant. Centriacinar changes due to exposure to long-term, high ambient ozone in bonnet monkeys results in narrowing of respiratory bronchioles primarily by peribronchiolar inflammation (inflammatory cells, fibers, amorphous matrix) and secondarily through hyperplasia of cuboidal bronchiolar cells.