T helper 2 (Th2) cell-derived cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13, play important roles in causing allergic airway inflammation. In contrast to Th2 cells, however, the role of IgE and mast cells in inducing allergic airway inflammation is not understood fully. In the present study, we addressed this point using transgenic mice expressing trinitrophenyl (TNP)-specific IgE (TNP–IgE mice), which enable us to investigate the role of IgE without the influence of antigen-specific T cell activation and other immunoglobulins. When the corresponding antigen, TNP–BSA, was administered intranasally to TNP–IgE mice, a large number of CD4+ T cells were recruited into the airways. In contrast, TNP–BSA administration did not induce eosinophil recruitment into the airways or airway hyperreactivity. Furthermore, when ovalbumin (OVA)-specific Th2 cells were transferred to TNP–IgE mice and the mice were challenged with inhaled OVA, TNP–BSA administration increased OVA-specific T cell recruitment and then enhanced Th2 cell-mediated eosinophil recruitment into the airways. These results indicate that IgE-induced mast cell activation principally induces CD4+ T cell recruitment into the airways and thus plays an important role in enhancing Th2 cell-mediated eosinophilic airway inflammation by recruiting Th2 cells into the site of allergic inflammation.