The particle size of bronchodilator aerosols may be important in determining the site of deposition in the lung and their therapeutic effect. The distribution of aerosols (labelled with technetium-99m diethylene triamine pentacetic acid) of two different particle sizes has been studied by gamma camera imaging. The particles had mass median aerodynamic diameters (geometric standard deviations) of 1.4 (1.4) and 5.5 (2.3) micron, and they were administered from a jet nebuliser to eight patients with chronic severe stable asthma. There was no significant difference in peripheral lung deposition with the two aerosols in any patient. The bronchodilator effect of the two aerosols was determined from cumulative dose-response studies. To avoid large doses that might mask possible differences in effect due to aerosol size, small, precisely determined incremental amounts of salbutamol (25-250 micrograms total lung dose) were used. The two doses were given via a nebuliser on separate occasions and the bronchodilator response was measured from FEV1, forced vital capacity, and peak expiratory flow 30 minutes after each dose. Bronchodilatation was similar with the two aerosols at each dose of salbutamol. There was therefore no difference in distribution within the lung or any difference in bronchodilator effect between an aerosol of small (1.4 micron) particle size and an aerosol of 5.5 microns in patients with severe but stable asthma.