Cholecystokinin (CCK) plays an important role in both the alimentary tract and the central nervous system (CNS). At present it seems to be the most abundant neuropeptide in the CNS. This paper reviews the CCK neuronal system and its interactions with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT). In addition, its putative role in anxiety will be discussed on the basis of animal data and studies in healthy volunteers and panic disorder patients. According to these investigations, the CCK4 challenge test fulfills most criteria for an ideal panicogenic agent and evidence has been found that CCKB receptor antagonists might possess anxiolytic properties in man.