There is considerable interest in the role of peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs) as ligand-activated transcription factors in the airways. This study examines the effects of a potent synthetic PPARgamma ligand, rosiglitazone (RG), in a murine model of allergen-induced inflammation, to explore its potential regulation of airways inflammation, structure and function. C57BL/6 mice were sensitised with ovalbumin (OVA, 50 microg i.p., days 0, 12) and challenged with aerosolized OVA (1% w v(-1), 30 min day(-1)) for 7 days (days 20-26). Mice were treated with RG (5 mg kg(-1) i.p.) or vehicle during the challenge period. The OVA challenge induced increases in leukocyte number and MMP-2 activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and in goblet cell number in lung tissue obtained on Day 27. RG failed to inhibit inflammatory cell infiltration, MMP-2 activity or goblet cell hyperplasia. Respiratory resistance in response to methacholine (MCh i.v.) was greater in OVA-challenged mice than saline-challenged mice and this airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR) was reduced by RG. However, RG did not affect MCh-induced contraction in isolated guinea-pig tracheal rings, nor did it influence the airway obstruction induced by MCh in saline-challenged mice, so a direct effect on airway obstruction is unlikely. These data suggest that RG modulates AHR in this model, by a mechanism that is also potentially independent of an anti-inflammatory action.