We examine the respiratory, bronchomotor, cardiac, and vascular responses to histamine and ragweed allergen delivered to the bronchi or alveoli compartments and the potential role of sensory nerves and reflexes mediating the histamine-induced responses. The masses of aerosols deposited in the bronchi and alveoli were quantitated using radioaerosol techniques. Activation of sensory nerves and/or histamine-induced mediator release were characterized by depositing nedocromil sodium aerosol prior to histamine challenge. The histamine-induced responses due to vagosympathetic transmission were determined by performing bilateral vagotomy. Both histamine and ragweed increased respiratory rate, ventilation, and bronchomotor tone whether deposited in the bronchial or alveolar regions. However, these responses were not elicited when histamine was administered intravenously. Precipitous allergen-induced decreases in heart rate and systolic and diastolic pressure were maximal 72 sec following ragweed deposition in alveolar regions of the lungs. Increases in respiratory rate were mediated via the vagus whether delivered to the bronchi, alveoli, or vasculature. Histamine-induced increases in respiratory rate and bronchomotor tone were attenuated by nedocromil. When histamine was delivered to the alveolar regions, increases in lung resistance appeared to be mediated primarily via the vagus and when delivered to the bronchial airways primarily by its action on smooth muscle or local reflexes. Histamine-induced hypotension and bradycardia appear to be mediated by the direct action of histamine on the cardiovascular system rather than through a vagally mediated reflex.