The effects ofketotifen, a 'mast cell stabiliser,' on two models of experimental colitis were examined. The inflammatory response elicited by either trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid or acetic acid resulted in increased colonic synthesis of platelet activating factor, prostaglandin E2, thromboxane B2, leukotrienes B4 and C4, and myeloperoxidase activity. Intragastric administration ofketotifen 100 ,μg/100 g twice daily significantly decreased mucosal damage when given prophylactically 48 hours before the induction of colitis and then throughout the experiment. This effect was consistent in both models and was accompanied by a significant reduction in mucosal generation of platelet activating factor, prostaglandin E2, thromboxane B2, and leukotrienes C4 and B4. Myeloperoxidase activity was reduced as well, reaching significance only in the acetic acid model. This study shows that both trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid and acetic acid colitis can be pharmacologically manipulated by ketotifen. The mechanism of action of ketotifen has not yet been determined. Ketotifen's potential in the treatment of active inflammatory bowel disease or in the prevention of exacertations, or both, remains to be elucidated.