The role of gastrin, acetylcholine and histamine in the acid response to central vagal activation induced by intracisternal injection of the stable analog, RX 77368, was further investigated in urethane-anesthetized rats with gastric fistula. The gastrin monoclonal antibody 28-2 injected intravenously, at a dose previously shown to prevent gastrin-induced stimulation of acid secretion, did not alter the peak acid response to intracisternal injection of RX 77368 (15 ng). The TRH analog (30 ng) injected into the cisterna magna increased levels of histamine measured in the hepatic portal blood. Cimetidine administered at a dose which completely blocked the stimulation of gastric acid secretion produced by intravenous infusion of histamine, inhibited by 62% the stimulatory effect of intracisternal RX 77368 (30 ng). The M1 muscarinic antagonist, pirenzepine, completely prevented the acid secretion induced by intracisternal RX 77368 (30 ng). These results indicate that the acid response to central vagal activation by the TRH analog in rats involved M1 muscarinic receptors along with histamine release acting on H2 histaminergic receptors whereas gastrin does not appear to play an important role.