To study the asthmatogenic effect of certain airborne elements of the home environment, we studied a group of guinea pigs exposed to aerosolized cockroach allergen (CRa) and side-stream cigarette (S-SC) smoke. Four groups of guinea pigs were exposed to aerosols, either saline or CRa, for 4 weeks, after a sham or S-SC smoke pretreatment. Anaphylactic antibodies were measured by passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) assay and by skin test. Animals were challenged with aerosol CRa on day 35, and lung function and leukotrienes (LTB4 and LTC4/D4) were measured. Skin tests were positive on days 21 and 29. The antibodies were heat-stable, IgG1a-like antibodies (PCA titers 1:2-18). The CRa challenge caused an immediate reduction in both the maximal expiratory flow rate at 50% of the lung capacity and respiratory compliance. The decreased lung function continued for up to 6 h (p < 0.0001). LTB4 and LTC4/D4 were elevated (p < 0.0001) in the sensitized animals at the corresponding times of reduced lung function. S-SC smoke did not affect the CRa sensitization; instead, a protective effect on the CRa-induced bronchospasms was noted. Thus, the study indicates that a simple airborne CRa exposure without an adjuvant sensitizes guinea pigs, and that the animals respond to antigen challenge with CRa-specific airway obstructions.