The study focuses on the relationship between the tissue density of mast cells, the tissue hislamine levels and the levels of markers of mast cell activation after an allergen challenge of the nasal mucosa of allergic patients. The effect of 4 weeks' treatment with a topical glucocorticoid, fluticasone propionate, was studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 25 hay fever patients. Nasal biopsies were obtained before and after the treatment period for the evaluation of mast cell density and tissue histamine levels. Nasal challenges were performed at 2-week intervals for 8 weeks using a standardized nasal lavage model. TAME-esterase was analysed in the returned lavage fluid from all the challenges (weeks 0–8), while the levels of histamine and tryptase were analysed in lavage fluids from challenges performed before and after the treatment period (weeks 0 and 4). The symptoms of nasal allergy were assessed after each challenge. Treatment with fluticasone proprionate did not influence mast cell density, the tissue histamine concentration, the lavage histamine levels or the TAME-esterase activity, while a reduction in nasal symptoms and tryptase in nasal lavagc fluid was revealed. Our present study again emphasizes the fact that the mast cell is an important trigger cell in the immediate nasal allergic response. The study also demonstrates the usefulness of the measurements of tryptase as an indicator of both mast cell activation and the efficacy of topical steroid treatment.