Influences of restraint plus water-immersion stress on gastric alkaline response and mucosal blood flow were investigated in the rat. Under normal conditions, the stomach secreted alkali at the rate of approximately 1 microEq/15 min in the presence of omeprazole (60 mg/kg i.p.) and responded to mucosal acidification (1000 mM HCI for 10 min) by a significant rise of output (approximately 2.5 microEq/15 min), and the latter process was significantly blocked by indomethacin (5 mg/kg s.c.), quinacrine (100 mg/kg s.c.) and vasopressin (10 unit/kg/hr i.v.). Restraint alone decreased basal rates of HCO3- secretion but had no effect on acid-induced HCO3- output. Additional water-immersion stress further reduced alkaline secretion, totally abolished the increased HCO3- response to acid and significantly suppressed the increase of HCO3- output caused by 16,16-dimethyl prostaglandin E2 (3-30 micrograms/kg s.c.). During restraint stress mucosal blood flow was reduced only by 30% but after exposure to additional water-immersion, it further decreased to about 25% of normal values. Both indomethacin and quinacrine had no effect on mucosal blood flow, whereas vasopressin markedly reduced mucosal blood flow by about 80%. These results suggest that stress not only reduced basal rates of alkaline secretion in the stomach but also impaired the mucosal ability to increase HCO3- output in response to acid. These secretory disorders caused by stress may be attributed to both a decrease of mucosal blood flow and prostaglandin deficiency in the mucosa.