The pharmacological modulation of the accumulation and function of eosinophils in tissues may have a significant impact in the treatment of allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis and rhinitis. In this study, we have investigated the acute anti-inflammatory effects of a short-acting (salbutamol) and a long-acting (salmeterol) beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist on 111In-accumulation and oedema formation in allergic and mediator-induced inflammation in guinea pig skin. Both salbutamol and salmeterol inhibited 111In-eosinophil accumulation induced by platelet-activating factor and in a passive cutaneous anaphylactic reaction when co-injected with the inflammatory stimuli or when given as a 30 min pretreatment. The inhibition was reversed by DL-propranolol, but not D-propranolol. Systemic treatment with salbutamol inhibited 111In-eosinophil accumulation and oedema formation when given as a 15 min, but not as a 3 h, pretreatment. In contrast, salmeterol was effective when given at both times. We conclude that a long duration of action of beta 2-adrenoceptor agonists is not necessary to demonstrate acute anti-inflammatory effects on eosinophil accumulation in guinea pig skin.