The effect of an infusion of two doses of peptide YY (PYY), a novel putative gastrointestinal hormone, has been assessed on mouth to caecum intestinal transit time and on the rate of gastric emptying after ingestion of an inert 200 ml liquid meal thought unlikely to interrupt fasting gastrointestinal motility patterns. A low dose of PYY was chosen to give plasma concentrations within the range seen postprandially in healthy subjects, while the high dose mimicked the raised levels seen in several malabsorptive conditions. During infusion of PYY at 0.18 pmol/kg/min plasma concentrations rose from a basal of 8 +/- 2 pmol/l to 38 +/- 5 pmol/l and at 0.51 pmol/kg/min to 87 +/- 10 pmol/l. Mouth to caecum transit time was delayed from 67 +/- 4 mins on the saline infusion day to 94 +/- 7 mins (p less than 0.01) on the low dose and 192 +/- 9 mins (p less than 0.001) on the high dose infusion day. Time to 50% gastric emptying was prolonged from 37 +/- 8 mins during saline infusion to 63 +/- 10 mins (p less than 0.05) during low and 130 +/- 12 mins (p less than 0.001) during high dose infusion. Thus the infusion of PYY shows a dose related inhibition of mouth to caecum intestinal transit time and of the rate of gastric emptying and suggests this novel hormonal peptide to be of importance in gastrointestinal physiology.