Acute asthma is considered to be a complication of respiratory viral infections. This investigation assessed the effects of rhinovirus 39 (RV-39) infection both on the patency and responsiveness of the lower airways. Subjects with allergic rhinitis (AR; n = 50) and without AR (non-AR; n = 46) were intranasally inoculated with RV-39, and monitored for 8 days in an enclosed environment for changes in symptoms, signs, and airway physiology (pulmonary function, bronchial methacholine provocation). All subjects were infected postinoculation. Significant increases in nasal symptoms and secretion weights were observed, with peak effects on days 2-3. Cough was a relatively minor symptom and none of the subjects developed wheezing. Likewise, there were no significant changes in the measured functions of the lower airways. No allergy status effects were observed. Under these experimental conditions, rhinovirus 39 infection did not produce detectable alterations in lower airway function in healthy subjects with and without allergic rhinitis.