We hypothesized that proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR(2)) modulates intestinal injuries induced by ischemia/reperfusion. Ischemia (1 hour) plus reperfusion (6 hours) significantly delayed gastrointestinal transit (GIT) compared with sham operation. Intraduodenal injection of PAR(2)-activating peptide SLIGRL-NH(2) significantly accelerated transit in ischemia/reperfusion but not in sham-operated rats. GIT was significantly delayed in ischemia/reperfusion and sham-operated PAR(2)(-/-) mice compared with PAR(2)(+/+). SLIGRL-NH(2) significantly accelerated transit in ischemia/reperfusion in PAR(2)(+/+) but not in PAR(2)(-/-) mice. Prevention of mast cell degranulation with cromolyn, ablation of visceral afferents with capsaicin, and antagonism of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and neurokinin-1 receptors with CGRP(8-37) and RP67580, respectively, abolished the SLIGRL-NH(2)-induced stimulatory effect on transit in ischemia/reperfusion. Tissue damage was significantly reduced by SLIGRL-NH(2); this effect was not observed in cromolyn-, capsaicin-, or RP67580-treated rats but was detected following CGRP(8-37). Intestinal PAR(2) mRNA levels were not affected by SLIGRL-NH(2) in ischemia/reperfusion. We propose that PAR(2) modulates GIT and tissue damage in intestinal ischemia/reperfusion by a mechanism dependent on mast cells and visceral afferents. PAR(2) effect on transit might be mediated by CGRP and substance P, whereas the effect on tissue damage appears to involve substance P but not CGRP. PAR(2) might be a signaling system in the neuroimmune communication in intestinal ischemia/reperfusion.