The effects of a newly developed compound having antiulcer action, (Z)-2-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)-1-[4-(2-phenyl-ethyl)phenyl]-eth anone oxime hydrochloride monohydrate (MCI-727), on pancreatic exocrine secretion were studied in anesthetized rats and evaluated its preventive and therapeutic effects on acute pancreatitis in two experimental rat models. Intraduodenal administration of MCI-727 [25, 50, or 100 mg/kg body weight (wt)] stimulated a dose-dependent increase in pancreatic juice and bicarbonate output without increasing the protein output or plasma cholecystokinin concentration. MCI-727-stimulated pancreatic exocrine secretion was completely abolished by antisecretin serum but not by the cholecystokinin receptor antagonist loxiglumide (50 mg/kg body wt/h) or cholinergic receptor antagonist atropine (100 mu g/kg body wt/h). In rats with acute pancreatitis induced by four subcutaneous injections of 20 mu g/kg body wt cerulein at hourly intervals over 3 h, MCI-727 administered orally at a dose of 100 mg/kg body wt 30 min before the first cerulein injection significantly reduced the increases in serum amylase and lipase activity and pancreatic wet weight and induced improvements in the results of histologic examination. Moreover, when given 30 min before and 90 min after the first cerulein injection, MCI-727 had even more dramatic protective effects on all these parameters. In addition, even when administered immediately after the last cerulein injection, MCI-727 effectively ameliorated all these alterations of acute pancreatitis. However, MCI-727 had no apparent beneficial effects on the biochemical and histologic alterations of acute pancreatitis in the severe form induced by retrograde intraductal injection of 1.0 ml/kg body wt of 4% sodium taurocholate. These findings suggest that oral administration of MCI-727 stimulates pancreatic exocrine secretion by endogenous secretin release and that it has therapeutic as well as preventive effects on mild forms of acute pancreatitis in rats.