The effects of intravenously administered vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and secretin on bile secretion were studied in 12 patients with complete biliary fistulas. The two peptides were administered both simultaneously and separately. During VIP infusion bile volume increased by 60%, and during the combined VIP and secretin infusion bile volume increased by another 70%. VIP increased bile bicarbonate concentration by some 30%. Although secretin did not increase the concentration, bicarbonate output increased threefold during secretin infusion but only twofold during VIP infusion. The outputs of bile acids were not significantly affected by the two peptides, whereas the concentrations decreased by 40% and 70% after VIP and secretin, respectively. The canalicular bile flow, measured by [14C]erythritol, was unaffected by VIP infusion, whereas secretin alone and the combination of the two peptides increased the canalicular clearance by 80%. The choleretic effect of VIP thus seems to occur only at the ductular level. Secretin exerts its effect at the ductular level and possibly also at the canalicular level. It is concluded that the two peptides have additive effects on the ductular bile flow.