Food intake and body weight are determined by a complex interaction of regulatory pathways. To elucidate the contribution of the endogenous peptide cholecystokinin, mice lacking functional cholecystokinin-A receptors were generated by targeted gene disruption. To explore the role of the cholecystokinin-A receptor in mediating satiety, food intake of cholecystokinin-A receptor-/- mice was compared with the corresponding intakes of wild-type animals and mice lacking the other known cholecystokinin receptor subtype, cholecystokinin-B/gastrin. Intraperitoneal administration of cholecystokinin failed to decrease food intake in mice lacking cholecystokinin-A receptors. In contrast, cholecystokinin diminished food intake by up to 90% in wild-type and cholecystokinin-B/gastrin receptor-/- mice. Together, these findings indicate that cholecystokinin-induced inhibition of food intake is mediated by the cholecystokinin-A receptor. To explore the long-term consequences of either cholecystokinin-A or cholecystokinin-B/gastrin receptor absence, body weight as a function of age was compared between freely fed wild-type and mutant animals. Both cholecystokinin-A and cholecystokinin-B/gastrin receptor-/- mice maintained normal body weight well into adult life. In addition, each of the two receptor-/- strains had normal pancreatic morphology and were normoglycemic. Our results suggest that although cholecystokinin plays a role in the short-term inhibition of food intake, this pathway is not essential for the long-term maintenance of body weight.