The present studies were undertaken as a first step to evaluate the potential usefulness of the bradykinin antagonist HOE-140 in delineating the role of kinins in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinitis. Intranasal single-dose administration of HOE-140, at doses up to 500 micrograms, was safe and well tolerated. Bradykinin-induced symptoms and increased vascular permeability could be inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, by preadministration of HOE-140 5 min prior to kinin challenge. The results of dose-ranging experiments suggested that bradykinin and HOE-140 were approximately equipotent at bradykinin receptors. Preadministration of HOE-140 2 h before kinin challenge caused a significant but much weaker level of inhibition than that seen with 5-min preadministration. Comparison of data with those obtained during dose-ranging studies suggested that more than 90% of the administered HOE-140 was lost during this 2-h period. We conclude that topical HOE-140 is an effective inhibitor of the effects of bradykinin on the nasal mucosa but that the short duration of action of this drug may severely limit the utility of HOE-140 in delineating the role of kinins in the pathogenesis of chronic rhinitis.