1. Mucosally added enterotoxin Escherichia coli STa increased the electrogenic Cl- secretion measured as the short-circuit current (Isc) across isolated muscle-stripped and muscle-unstripped rat mid-ilea incubated in vitro. 2. Pretreatment with serosal L-NAME (N omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester) or tetrodotoxin (TTX) significantly reduced the maximum Isc and the duration of action of STa in the unstripped but not stripped ilea. D-NAME (serosal), indomethacin or 5-hydroxy-tryptamine-desensitization was ineffective on STa-induced Isc in either stripped or unstripped ilea. 3. Serosal capsaicin reduced the maximum Isc of STa and its duration of action in unstripped ilea. 4. L-Arginine induced a significantly larger increase in the Isc across unstripped ilea than across stripped ilea; this could be significantly reduced by serosal L-NAME or TTX, although these were ineffective in stripped ilea. 5. Pretreatment of anaesthetized rats with I.P. L-NAME suppressed the fluid secretion induced by luminal STa in ilea in vivo but had no effect on that induced by luminal carbachol. 6. Mucosal STa increased electrogenic Cl- secretion across intact rat ileum in vitro by activating a capsaicin-sensitive, nitric oxide-dependent myenteric plexus-mediated secretory reflex. The suppression by L-NAME of STa induced ileal fluid secretion in vivo probably involves the inhibition of this reflex.