The purpose of this present study was to develop a method for stimulation of acid secretion by the isolated perfused rat stomach. Rat stomachs were perfused in situ via the abdominal aorta and celiac axis with Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer in the presence or absence of 10% ovine erythrocytes. The gastric lumen was perfused with distilled water and gastric contents were collected at frequent intervals through a catheter at the pylorus. Sixty minute gastric acid output in response to various concentrations of pentagastrin was determined by titration of gastric contents with 0.01 N NaOH to pH 7.0. During arterial perfusion with Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer in the absence of ovine erythrocytes gastric acid output was 2.50 +/- 0.58 SEM microEq H+/h, which did not increase in response to perfusion with Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate buffer containing pentagastrin. However, inclusion of 10% ovine erythrocytes in the arterial perfusate resulted in substantial stimulation of gastric acid by pentagastrin: maximal acid output, achieved with a pentagastrin dose of 0.6 microgram/kg/h, was 23.5 +/- 3.73 microEq H+/h (p less than 0.01). The results of the present study demonstrate the capacity of the isolated vascularly perfused rat stomach to secrete acid and provide a model for studying interactions of gastrointestinal regulatory peptides and their physiologic roles in the regulation of gastric acid secretion.