The effects of intracerebroventricular (ICV) and intrathecal (IT) administration of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) on intestinal motility were examined in conscious rats chronically fitted with intraparietal electrodes in the duodeno-jejunum and a cannula in a cerebral lateral ventricle or catheter in the subarachnoid space. ICV administration of CGRP (0.5-10 micrograms) restores the fasted pattern of intestinal motility in fed rats in a dose-related manner. Intrathecal administration of CGRP or calcitonin also induces fasted pattern but after a 30 min delay. These effects persisted after transection of the spinal cord and no change in intestinal motility appeared after intravenous administration of CGRP at a dose effective when given IT. This study suggests that CGRP, as calcitonin, has a neuromodulatory role in the control of intestinal motility at both brain and spinal cord levels.