The principal acute mode of action of inhaled phosgene gas is related to an increase alveolar fluid exudation under pathologic conditions. This paper considers some aspects in modeling phosgene-induced acute lung injury (ALI) in an acute rat bioassay and whether edema formation can be modulated by inhaled nitric oxide (iNO). Protein analysis in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid is amongst the most sensitive method to quantify the phosgene-induced non-cardiogenic, pulmonary high-permeability edema following acute inhalation exposure. Maximum concentrations in BAL-protein occur within one day postexposure, typically within a latency period up to about 15 h as a consequence of an increasingly exhausted lymphatic drainage. An almost similar sensitivity was given by the functional endpoint 'enhanced pause (Penh)' when measured by non-invasive whole-body barometric plethysmography over a time period of 20 h. The magnitude of edema formation follows a concentration x time (C¹xt) relationship, although animal model-specific deviations may occur at very short exposure durations (1-20 min) due to a rodent-specific, reflexively induced transient decreased ventilation. This has to be accounted for when simulating accidental exposure scenarios to study the mechanisms involved in pharmacological modulation of fluid transport in this type of ALI. Therefore, a special focus has to be given to the dosimetry of inhaled phosgene, otherwise any change in effect magnitude, as a result of under-dosing of phosgene, may be misconceived as promising therapy. This study demonstrates that accidental exposures can be modeled best in rats by exposure durations of at least 20-30 min. Lung function measurements (Penh) show that pathophysiological effects appear to occur concomitant with the exposure to phosgene; however, its full clinical manifestation requires a gross imbalance of pulmonary fluid clearance. When applying this concept, post-phosgene exposure iNO at 1.5 ppm × 6 h or 15 pm × 20 h led to an aggravation of edema formation while L-NAME, a non-selective inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, led to attenuation. Ethyl pyruvate, given either prophylactically or therapeutically, was ineffective.