It is unclear whether angiotensin II receptors are involved in bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthmatic patients. We examined the effect of losartan, a specific angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor antagonist, on bronchial responsiveness to inhaled methacholine in eight patients with stable asthma. Bronchial responsiveness to methacholine, assessed as the concentration of methacholine producing a 20% fall in FEV(1) (PC(20)-FEV(1)) and a 35% fall in standardized partial expiratory flow at 40% of FVC (PC(35)-PEF(40)), was measured on two occasions 2 wk apart. Losartan (50 mg once a day) or a placebo was orally administered for 1 wk before methacholine provocation test in a double-blind, randomized, crossover fashion. Although the PC(20)-FEV(1) values after placebo (2.037 [geometric standard error of the mean, GSEM = 0.210] mg/ml) and losartan (2.098 [GSEM, 0.239] mg/ml) were identical (p = 0.840), the geometric mean PC(35)-PEF(40) values significantly (p = 0.034) increased from 0.258 (GSEM, 0.156) mg/ml with placebo to 0.456 (GSEM, 0.186) mg/ml with losartan. We conclude that AT1 receptors are involved in bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthmatic patients. This is the first report demonstrating the involvement of AT1 receptors in bronchial asthma.