The presence of cytokines and the toxic eosinophil granule product major basic protein (MBP) was investigated in nasal aspirates from children with naturally occurring virus-induced asthma exacerbations and compared with levels in nasal aspirates taken from the same children when asymptomatic. Increased levels of MBP accompanied by increased levels of the chemokines RANTES and macrophage-inhibitory protein 1α were observed in nasal aspirates from children during the virus-induced exacerbations. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor was mostly undetectable in samples obtained during both symptomatic and asymptomatic periods. Interleukin-5 levels were low, but tended to increase in samples from symptomatic children. These data confirm that the eosinophil product MBP and the eosinophil chemoattractant chemokines RANTES and macrophage-inhibitory protein 1α are increased in upper respiratory viral infections associated with asthma exacerbations and suggest an important role for these chemokines in regulating eosinophil influx and activation. These chemokines may represent targets for therapeutic intervention in virus-induced asthma exacerbations.