In order to examine the hypothesis that bronchial reactivity to non-specific constrictor stimuli is influenced by the resting tone of the bronchial smooth muscle, the airway responses to inhaled histamine solution and inhaled isoprenaline were measured in 19 patients with airway obstruction. There was a significant positive correlation between the size of the constrictor response to histamine and the dilator response to isoprenaline (r = +0.83; p less than 0.01) as measured by changes in specific airway conductance. Patients with asthma showed greater bronchial reactivity to both histamine and isoprenaline than those with chronic bronchitis, although some patients had changes intermediate between the two extremes.
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