The effect of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, fluoxetine and sertraline on basal, secretagogues (histamine or bethanechol)- and distention-stimulated gastric acid secretion was investigated in the urethane-anaesthetised acute gastric fistula rat. Gastric acid secretion was measured by flushing of the gastric contents with saline every 15 min. Fluoxetine (10 or 20 mg kg(-1), i.p.) produced a dose-dependent increase in basal gastric acid secretion. These stimulatory effects were abolished by vagotomy. Intraperitoneally administered sertraline also stimulated gastric acid secretion. The stimulatory effect of lower doses (5 mg kg(-1)) of sertraline was similar to that of the higher (30 mg kg(-1)) doses. The gastric secretory response to i.p. sertraline was long lasting (greater than 60 min), and blocked by vagotomy. Intraperitoneally administered fluoxetine (10 or 20 mg kg(-1)) or sertraline (5 mg kg(-1)) also increased gastric secretion induced by histamine, bethanechol or distention. The fluoxetine or sertraline stimulatory effects of histamine-induced acid secretion were abolished by vagotomy. Data indicate a stimulatory effect for fluoxetine and sertraline mediated by vagal nerve on gastric acid secretion in urethane-anaesthetised rats.