The effects of two degranulators of mast cells and intestinal anaphylaxis on jejunal myoelectric activity were compared in rats fasted for 15 hours. Attempts to antagonize the motility changes were performed using antagonists of histamine and serotonin and a cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase inhibitor. Hooded Lister rats were chronically fitted with electrodes implanted in the jejunal wall. A group of rats was sensitized to egg albumin and challenged 14 days later by intraduodenal infusion of antigen. Sensitized animals had serum titers greater than or equal to 1:64. The other group was administered with mast cells degranulators. Both 48/80 (1 mg/kg), a degranulator of connective mast cells, and bromolasalocid (2 mg/kg), acting on connective and mucosal mast cells, induced a phase of total spiking inhibition followed by a progressive irregular spiking activity until the recovery of migrating myoelectric complex pattern (about 3 hours after injection). In contrast, antigen challenge disrupted the migrating myoelectric complex pattern, which was replaced by a peculiar pattern characterized by propagated spike burst, lasting 98 +/- 11.3 minutes. Chlorpheniramine (1 mg/kg) antagonized only the inhibitory phase induced by degranulators and was ineffective on the intestinal anaphylaxis-induced motor changes. Methysergide (1 mg/kg) and indomethacin (5 mg/kg) significantly reduced the degranulator effects as well as the anaphylaxis-induced alterations of intestinal motility. It is concluded that anaphylaxis-induced motor disturbances are relevant to mucosal mast cell degranulation involving 5-hydroxytryptamine and arachidonic acid derivative products, whereas histamine release appears to be a minor component.