Two major pathophysiological mechanisms explaining the diarrhoea induced by Salmonella typhimurium have been suggested to be: (a) invasion of the intestine by the bacteria, and (b) an enterotoxin resembling Vibrio cholerae toxin. Cholera toxin is a potent secretagogue in pig small intestine and induces secretion partly by activating 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors, following release of 5-hydroxytryptamine. Ondansetron is a selective 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor antagonist, which reduces the cholera toxin-evoked fluid accumulation in pig jejunum. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ondansetron on Salmonella typhimurium-induced fluid accumulation in ligated loops of pig jejunum in vivo. 10(10) colony-forming units of the bacteria was injected into loops and incubated for 8 hr. 200 mg x kg-1 ondansetron given subcutaneously reduced the Salmonella typhimurium-induced fluid accumulation by about 40%. This results suggests the involvement of 5-hydroxytryptamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors in Salmonella typhimurium-induced diarrhoea.