The release of gastrin into the serum of five conscious gastric fistula dogs after a meat meal was monitored for 2 hours. Neither the rate of increase in serum gastrin nor the 2 hour cumulative integrated gastrin response was changed by administration of small doses of somatostatin tetradecapeptide (0.5 microgram/kg.hr IV for 2 hr), 16-16 dimethyl prostaglandin E2 (0.25 microgram/kg.hr IV for 2 hr or 1 microgram/kg intragastrically), or bethanechol (20 micrograms/kg.hr IV for 2 hr). Acidification of the food in the antrum to pH 1.2 to 1.4 eliminated serum gastrin release in response to food. In control studies, serum gastrin levels were not altered by IV administration of saline for 2 hr with no food or when a plate of food was held just out of the dogs' reach (teasing). Food-stimulated gastrin release was contrasted with that stimulated by bombesin under identical laboratory conditions . In each case, antral acidification, somatostatin, prostaglandin E2 and bethanechol affected bombesin-stimulated gastrin release differently from that stimulated by food. We conclude that food and bombesin release gastrin by different pathways.