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The effects of intravenous infusion of proglumide on regular ruminal contractions were examined in conscious sheep using doses that inhibit pancreatic exocrine secretion. After a control period of 20 min, proglumide was infused intravenously for 40 min at a dose of 15, 30 or 60 μmol/kg per min and venous blood was collected. The intravenous infusion of proglumide significantly increased the frequency of ruminal contractions at 15 μmol/kg per min without altering the amplitude, while it significantly decreased the frequency and amplitude of ruminal contractions at 30 and 60 μmol/kg per min in a dose-dependent manner. Proglumide did not increase contractile activity of the omasum, abomasum and duodenum or the plasma concentration of immunoreactive cholecystokinin (CCK). Application of proglumide at 1–30 mmol/L inhibited bethanechol-induced contraction in both longitudinal and circular muscle strips of the dorsal sac of the rumen. These results suggest that proglumide at a low dose acts indirectly on the rumen as a CCK receptor antagonist to increase the frequency of contractions, whereas at higher doses it inhibits cholinergic-induced contraction of the ruminal muscles or acts as an agonist to inhibit contractions in sheep. Hence, proglumide at high doses seems unsuitable for research or therapeutic use as a CCK receptor blockade in sheep.