Alterations in gastrointestinal function are common after thermal injury in humans. The peptide hormones gastrin and cholecystokinin are known to exert effects on gastric and biliary motility and on secretory function and to induce trophic changes in gut mucosa. The effect of injury on these hormones has received little attention. Six patients with burns were studied while receiving a combination of regular diet and continuous enteral feeding. Four healthy members of the nursing staff served as the control group. Blood was drawn every 4 hours for 24 hours. Gastrin and cholecystokinin were analyzed by radioimmunoassay. Patients with burns demonstrated significantly higher levels of gastrin and lower levels of cholecystokinin when compared with the control group. Patients with burns also failed to demonstrate the normal circadian variation in these peptides.