Airway epithelium has been reported to release epithelium-derived relaxing factor (EpDRF), which inhibits contraction of airway smooth muscle. This study tested the hypothesis that airway hyperresponsiveness after inhalation of ozone in dogs results from an inability to produce EpDRF. Two groups of five dogs each were studied; one group inhaled ozone, the other dry room air. Ozone-treated dogs developed airway hyperresponsiveness, whereas the control group did not. The acetylcholine provocative concentration decreased from 4.17 (%SE 1.35) to 0.56 mg/ml (%SE 1.24) (P = 0.0006) in the ozone-treated dogs and was 18.76 (%SE 2.04) and 29.77 mg/ml (%SE 2.07) in the air-treated dogs (P = 0.47). In vitro the presence of airway epithelium reduced the constrictor responses to acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin, and KCl in trachealis strips from the control dogs. This effect of epithelium was still present in trachealis strips from dogs with airway hyperresponsiveness. These results demonstrate that EpDRF is released from canine tracheal epithelium, that this function is not impaired in dogs with airway hyperresponsiveness after inhaled ozone, and that loss of EpDRF is not responsible for the development of airway hyperresponsiveness after inhaled ozone in dogs.