The purpose of this study was to investigate whether hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is the major determinant of the computed tomography (CT) pattern of mosaic attenuation in asthmatic patients with induced bronchoconstriction. Thin-section CT was performed at suspended full inspiration immediately and 30 min after methacholine bronchoprovocation in 22 asthmatic subjects, who were randomly assigned to breathe room air (group A, n = 8), oxygen via nasal prongs at 5 l/min (group B, n = 8), and oxygen via face mask at 12 l/min (group C, n = 6). CT changes were quantified in terms of global lung density and density in hypodense and hyperdense areas. Lung parenchymal density increases were greatest in group C and greater in group B than in group A, globally (P = 0.03) and in hypodense regions (P = 0.01). On bivariate analysis, the only change in cross-sectional area was related to change in global density. In hypodense regions, density change was related both to reduction in cross-sectional area (P < 0.0005) and to oxygen administration (P = 0.01). After correction for changes in global lung density, only oxygen was independently related to density increase in hypodense areas (P = 0.02). In induced bronchoconstriction, the CT appearance of mosaic attenuation can be largely ascribed to hypoxic vasoconstriction rather than to changes in lung inflation.