Tenascin and fibronectin are extracellular matrix glycoproteins expressed during morphogenesis and tissue repair. In the present study bronchial biopsies were studied by the morphometric method of immunocytochemistry to reveal the distribution of different tenascin and fibronectin isoforms as well as the presence of inflammatory cells in the airway mucosa of patients with chronic asthma (n = 32) and those with seasonal birch-pollen-sensitive asthma out of season (n = 17), both in comparison with healthy control subjects (n = 12). The results showed an increase in tenascin immunoreactivity in the bronchial subepithelial reticular basement membrane layer in patients with chronic asthma (p < 0.0001) and in those with seasonal asthma (p < 0.01) compared with control subjects. The tenascin immunoreactivity, appearing as an intense wide subepithelial band in asthma, was seen only occasionally in the basement membrane of control specimens. Instead, a diffuse immunoreaction against both total fibronectin and locally produced extradomain A fibronectin was similarly visible in the airway mucosa of both patients and control subjects. Despite the significant increase in the airway mucosa of eosinophils and lymphocytes in patients with chronic asthma (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0001, respectively) and of eosinophils in patients with seasonal asthma (p < 0.001), there was no correlation between the number of these cell types and level of tenascin expression. In patients with birch-pollen-sensitive asthma during the birch-pollen season, inhaled corticosteroid treatment, budesonide 400 micrograms twice daily, decreased tenascin immunoreactivity, in comparison with effects of placebo (p = 0.01). Our results suggest that the higher amount of tenascin reflects disease activity in asthma and may be an indicator of a remodeling process rather than of injury itself.