In order to find out whether substance P (SP) participates in the inflammatory and fibrotic processes of interstitial lung diseases or not, SP-like immunoreactive substance (SP-IS) concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and pulmonary sarcoidosis were measured using enzyme immunoassay (EIA). The mean SP-IS concentrations in BAL fluids from healthy nonsmokers and healthy smokers were 0.87 +/- 0.19 and 0.98 +/- 0.23 pg/ml, respectively. The mean SP-IS concentration in BAL fluids from patients with IPF was 1.15 +/- 0.39 pg/ml. The value of patients with IPF was significantly higher than that of healthy nonsmokers (p < 0.01). The mean SP-IS concentrations in BAL fluids from pulmonary sarcoidosis patients in stage I, stage II and stage III were 0.91 +/- 0.19, 0.96 +/- 0.35 and 1.00 +/- 0.29 pg/ml, respectively. No correlation was found between SP-IS concentration and pulmonary functions in IPF and sarcoidosis patients. The present results indicate that SP may be involved in the inflammatory process in IPF.