The function of tachykinins in the control of gastric motility in the cod, Gadus morhua, was studied using native cod substance P ([Lys1, Arg3, Ile3]SP) and cod neurokinin A ([Ile3, Asn4]NKA). Both cod SP and NKA produced contractions of the vascularly perfused cod stomach, SP being almost 6 times more potent than NKA (pD2-values 7.05 +/- 0.06 and 6.28 +/- 0.09, respectively). The release of tachykinins from the cod stomach was measured in radioimmunoassay, using specific antibodies for the two cod tachykinins. Stimulation of the stomach motility by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve or infusion of acetylcholine increased the amounts of SP and NKA released into the vascular perfusate. The results suggest that both tachykinins are involved in the excitatory response of the cod stomach produced by vagal and cholinergic stimulation.