The variations in nasal and pharyngeal resistance induced by changes in the central inspiratory drive were studied in 10 normal men. To calculate resistances we measured upper airway pressures with two low-bias flow catheters; one was placed at the tip of the epiglottis and the other in the posterior nasopharynx, and we measured flow with a Fleisch no. 3 pneumotachograph connected to a tightly fitting mask. Both resistances were obtained continuously during CO2 rebreathing (Read's method) and during the 2 min after a 1-min voluntary maximal hyperventilation. The inspiratory drive was estimated by measurements of inspiratory pressure generated at 0.1 s after the onset of inspiration (P0.1) and by the mean inspiratory flow (VT/TI). In each subject both resistances decreased during CO2 rebreathing; these decreases were correlated with the increase in P0.1. During the posthyperventilation period, ventilation fell below base line in seven subjects; this was accompanied by an increase in both nasal and pharyngeal resistances. These resistances increased exponentially as VT/TI decreased. Parallel changes in nasal and pharyngeal resistances were seen during CO2 stimulus and during the period after the hyperventilation. We conclude that 1) the indexes quantifying the inspiratory drive reflect the activation of nasopharyngeal dilator muscles (as assessed by the changes in upper airway resistance) and 2) both nasal and pharyngeal resistances are similarly influenced by changes in the respiratory drive.