The purpose of this study was to determine the role of cholecystokinin in the regulation of postprandial pancreatic polypeptide secretion in humans. The pancreatic polypeptide responses to modified sham feeding and gastric instillation of a test meal were first compared with the response to oral ingestion of the same meal. The experiments were repeated under cholinergic (atropine) and cholecystokinin (loxiglumide) blockade. Atropine completely abolished the pancreatic polypeptide response to sham feeding and caused significant reductions after gastric and oral food intake. Loxiglumide, on the other hand, significantly reduced pancreatic polypeptide release to oral food (51% inhibition) without affecting the response to sham feeding. In separate experiments using a duodenal perfusion system, the effects of atropine and loxiglumide on intestinal phase-stimulated pancreatic polypeptide release were examined, and both cholinergic and cholecystokinin blockade induced complete suppression. It was concluded (a) that cholecystokinin is involved in postprandial pancreatic polypeptide response, especially during the intestinal phase stimulation, and (b) that the cholinergic system is crucial and superimposed on cholecystokinin in stimulating pancreatic polypeptide release.