To evaluate the involvement of sulphidopeptide leukotrienes on bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthma, we examined the effects of a specific orally active leukotriene antagonist (ONO-1078) on bronchial responsiveness to methacholine in stable asthmatic subjects by a double-blinded, randomized, two-phase crossover study. Eleven asthmatic subjects received ONO-1078 (225 mg twice a day) or placebo. After 1 week administration of ONO-1078 or placebo, the subjects underwent methacholine challenge test. Test drug administrations were then discontinued for 1 week, and the subjects were then crossed over to the alternative treatment regimen. After 1 week of the alternate regimen, the subjects underwent a second methacholine challenge. Mean baseline values of forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and geometric mean value of provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1 (PC20-FEV1) were equal between the first and the second methacholine test. The geometric mean value of PC20-FEV1 after the administration of ONO-1078 was 0.48 (geometric SEM, 1.48) mg ml-1, which was significantly (P < 0.01) greater than the value after the placebo administration (0.30 geometric SEM, 1.41 mg ml-1), but the baseline values of FVC and FEV1 were not altered by ONO-1078. We conclude that sulphidopeptide leukotrienes are significantly involved in the development of bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthma but the degree of the involvement may be small.