Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), peptide histidine isoleucine (PHI), and helodermin stimulate electrogenic anion secretion in preparations of rat jejunum stripped of muscularis propria. Concentration-response curves to exogenously applied peptides yielded EC50 values of 12 nM, 12 nM and 100 nM for VIP, PHI and helodermin respectively. These secretory responses were most probably mediated via the same receptor population given that cross-desensitisation was observed between all 3 analogues. Four putative VIP antagonists, namely, two growth hormone releasing factors (GRF); [AcTyr1, D-Phe2]GRF-(1-29)-NH2 and [AcTyr1]hGRF-(1-40)-OH as well as [4Cl-D-Phe6,Leu17]VIP and VIP-(10-28) were tested for their ability to inhibit VIP induced electrogenic ion secretion. None of the above exhibited any intrinsic agonist activity nor were they competitive antagonists, although some inhibition was observed with [AcTyr1]hGRF-(1-40)-OH and VIP-(10-28). Their use as selective VIP antagonists is therefore limited in rat jejunal mucosa.