Chemokines are cytokines that induce chemotaxis of inflammatory cells. We studied the presence of chemokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) obtained from nine allergic asthmatic patients and six nonsmoking normal individuals. The cells were pelleted, and ribonucleic acid (RNA) was extracted by using RNAzol B. BALF was assayed for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), regulated upon activation in normal T cells, expressed, probably secreted (RANTES), macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The levels of MCP-1, RANTES, and MIP-1alpha were significantly higher in the asthma patients than in the control subjects (p<0.04). The concentrations of RANTES and MCP-1 correlated with the lymphocyte count in the BAL specimens (r = 0.61 and 0.68, respectively). BALF showed eosinophil chemotactic activity in vitro that was blocked by anti-RANTES and anti-MCP-3 antibodies. The total cellular RNA was reverse-transcribed and the complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) was amplified with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for MCP-1, MCP-3, RANTES, MIP-1alpha, IL-8, and beta-actin. We found that messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNAs) for MCP-1, MCP-3, RANTES, MIP-1alpha, and IL-8 were produced by BAL cells from most asthmatic and normal subjects. We conclude that chemokines are produced in the airways, and that an increased recovery of MCP-1, RANTES, and MIP-1alpha is observed in allergic asthmatic patients.