When guinea pigs were exposed to sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas (800 ppm, 2 h), they showed hyperresponsiveness to intravenously administered serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)). This hyperresponsiveness continued for over 24 h after the exposure to the gas. The degeneration, desquamation of epithelium, and edema of the lamina propria of the trachea and bronchi were observed in animals after a 2-h exposure of SO2 histopathologically. These changes seemed to be the early phase of acute bronchitis. Then, we examined the effect of clenbuterol, a selective beta-2 adrenoceptor agonist, on the SO2-induced bronchial hyperresponsiveness in these animals. Orally administered clenbuterol (1-10 micrograms/kg) suppressed the hyperresponsiveness to 5-HT in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that clenbuterol might inhibit the hyperresponsiveness that accompanies acute bronchitis and that this agent may be useful for remission of broncho-spasm.