BACKGROUND: Exposure of patients sensitized to pollen triggers development of seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms (SAR). Eicosanoids are a group of arachidonic acid metabolites contributing to the symptoms of SAR. The aim of this study was to investigate seasonal changes in the expression of enzymes of the eicosanoid pathway in the nasal mucosa of patients with SAR. METHODS: Twenty SAR patients allergic to birch or grass and eight healthy subjects were included in the study. Patients registered rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms and use of rescue medication before and during the pollen season. Nasal biopsies were obtained before and around the peak of the season, sectioned and stained using markers for eosinophils, mast cells, T cells and neutrophils. Antibodies against the following enzymes were also used: cyclo-oxygenase (COX-1, COX-2), 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), 5-lipoxygenase-activating factor (FLAP), LTA4 hydrolase (LTA4h) and LTC4 synthase (LTC4s). RESULTS: During the pollen season symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis and medication score increased significantly (P=0.001; P=0.001 respectively). During the pollen season numbers of eosinophils (P=0.02) and cell positive 5-LO (P=0.02), LTC4s (P=0.04) and LTA4h (P=0.02) increased significantly. During season number of mast cells and cells expressing 5-LO and LTA4h were higher in SAR than in healthy controls group (P=0.02; P=0.01; P=0.03 respectively). CONCLUSION: In sensitized patients exposure to pollen allergen results in increased expression of enzymes of the eicosanoid pathway.