To investigate the temporal relationships of mediator release and physiological changes during the early response to allergen, we challenged allergic individuals intranasally with antigen and followed their responses. This was done by using small filter paper disks to challenge one nostril and collect secretions from both the challenged and the contralateral nostril, thus enabling us to evaluate the nasonasal reflex. There was a significant increase in sneezing after allergen challenge that peaked within 2 min and returned to baseline. The weights of nasal secretions as well as nasal symptoms increased immediately and remained significantly elevated for 20 min in both nostrils. Nasal airway resistance increased slowly, reaching its peak at approximately 6 min after challenge on the ipsilateral side, but it did not change on the contralateral side. Histamine levels peaked 30 s after removal of the allergen disk on the side of challenge, whereas albumin levels peaked after those of histamine. Lactoferrin paralleled the increase in secretion weights and occurred in both nostrils. Increasing doses of antigen produced dose-dependent increases in all parameters, whereas control challenges produced no response. These studies describe a human model for the evaluation of the allergic response that is capable of simultaneously measuring mediator release and the physiological response, including the nasonasal reflex. This model should prove useful in studying the mechanism of allergic rhinitis in humans.