Studies were performed to evaluate the effects of either acute or chronic morphine exposure on histamine release in vivo and supporting studies in vitro. In order to effectively assess histamine release in swine, studies were undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of compound 48/80 as an intradermal skin test and determine its ability to release histamine in swine cells. Compound 48/80 skin testing was found to be a useful measure of histamine release in swine as evidenced by dose dependent wheal and flare reaction in vivo and histamine release from swine cells in vitro. Acute effects of morphine were determined on swine administered a single injection of morphine alkaloid. Skin tests using intradermal compound 48/80 and histamine, were performed using compound 48/80 both prior to, and 24 h following initiation of morphine treatment. Morphine tolerant swine were subjected to in vivo skin tests and the resulting wheal and flare responses measured. In select swine skin samples from the test sites were measured for mast cell numbers. Swine dermal mast cells were found to release histamine in a dose dependent manner upon compound 48/80 exposure. Both acute and chronic morphine-treated swine had significantly depressed responses to compound 48/80, however this difference was not due alteration in mast cell number or morphology, and skin responsiveness to histamine remained intact.