Direct assessment of tracheal circumference, which permits evaluation of constriction and dilatation in vivo, was made continuously in intact, pentobarbital-anesthetized, spontaneously breathing dogs. Immediate response to induction of hypercapnia included tracheal constriction and cessation of normal, vagus-dependent rhythmicity of airway tone. The characteristic constrictor response to acetylcholine was exaggerated significantly during hypercapnic acidosis and returned to normal when arterial pH, but not CSF pH, was corrected by NaHCO3 infusion. Epinephrine produced significant tracheal dilatation (infrequently followed by constriction) and isoproterenol produced only dilatation at normal pH. The catecholamine-induced dilatation was decreased significantly during hypercapnic acidosis, but improved after NaHCO3 infusion. Responses to acetylcholine and epinephrine were the the same as control during alkalemia, whereas the response to isoproterenol was unexplainedly diminished. Thus alkalemia may inhibit the action of isoproterenol; acidemia enhances parasympathomimetic constriction and reduces sympathomimetic dilatation; and correction of arterial pH returns these responses to normal, even if hypercapnia and CSF acidosis persist.