Sulfur mustard (SM) has been used as a vesicant chemical warfare agent. To investigate the respiratory damages it causes, we studied the effects on guinea pigs of an intratracheal injection of 0.3 mg/kg of SM 5 h and 14 days after injection. Five hours after SM intoxication, respiratory system resistance and microvascular permeability were increased. These alterations were not prevented by pretreatment with 50 mg/kg sc of capsaicin 2 wk before SM intoxication. Histological studies showed columnar cell shedding all along the tracheal epithelium, bronchoconstriction, and peribronchial edema. Fourteen days after SM intoxication, guinea pigs demonstrated airway hyperreactivity to aerosolized substance P and histamine. Pretreatment with phosphoramidon caused a further increase in airway responsiveness to substance P. Neutral endopeptidase activity in the tracheal epithelium was decreased by twofold in SM-intoxicated guinea pigs. At this stage, the tracheal epithelium was disorganized and atrophic. These results demonstrate that in guinea pigs SM intoxication induces severe lesions to the tracheal epithelium, which might account for the airway hyperresponsiveness observed 14 days after intoxication.