The endogenous, meal-contingent release of bombesin (BN)-like peptides is thought to contribute to the termination of a meal. In the following experiments the potency of BN receptor antagonists to attenuate the ability of nutrients to suppress food intake was tested. First, the effectiveness of BN receptor subtype antagonists was verified by testing their ability to block the effects of exogenous BN on food intake. Rats were administered intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of either saline or 0.1 mg/kg [D-Phe12,Leu14]BN (binds both GRP and NMB receptors), [D-Phe6]BN(6-13) ethyl amide (binds GRP > NMB), and cyclo-SS-octa (BIM-23042; binds NMB > GRP). Five minutes later rats were administered 8 micrograms/kg BN (i.p.) and milk intake was measured. Injections of [D-Phe12,Leu14]BN and [D-Phe6]BN(6-13) ethyl amide reliably attenuated the ability of BN to suppress milk intake whereas BIM-23042 was ineffective. The results show that the antagonists were behaviorally effective and that exogenous BN may exert its effects on food intake primarily through the GRP receptor subtype. Next, the antagonists were administered either 5 min prior to or 5 min after an intragastric nutrient load or no load in both overnight-deprived and nondeprived rats, and milk intake was then measured. Stomach loads reduced intake and this effect was not attenuated by BN receptor antagonists. Finally, rats were allowed to prefeed and the milk was then removed. Rats were then administered a BN receptor antagonist (0.1 and 1.0 mg/kg) or saline either immediately after the prefeed, 10 min later, or 20 min later. Milk diet was then returned and intake was measured. Peripheral injections of the BN receptor antagonist had no effect compared to saline on milk intake. Collectively, the results indicate that the blockade of peripheral Bn peptide receptors is not sufficient to attenuate the safety signals generated by stomach loads or prefeeding.