Gallbladder dynamics, cholecystokinin (CCK), and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) release were studied in 14 patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) (2 females, 12 males; age range 24–56 years) and 12 control subjects (4 females, 8 males, 21–50 years). On day 1, gallbladder contractility was investigated after ceruletide intravenous infusion (2.5 ng/kg/min for 10 min). On day 2, a mixed standard test meal (1450 kJ) was administered orally. Gallbladder volume was assessed at three time intervals before (−30, −15, 0 min) and at 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80, 100 and 120 min after stimulation by means of ultrasonography. CCK and PP plasma levels were determined at each time interval.Exocrine pancreatic function was assessed using the pancreolauryl serum test (PLT). Six patients with CP had severe exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) (PLT<1.8 μg/ml) with steatorrhea, eight patients had mild-moderate EPI. Fasting gallbladder volume was increased in CP (32.3±3.1 cm3) as compared to controls (20.5±1.2 cm3) (P<0.01). Peak gallbladder contraction (percent of initial volume) in CP ranged from 5 to 55% (controls: 8–46%) following ceruletide and from 17 to 86% (controls: 27–80%) following the test meal (NS). There was no correlation between the degree of EPI according to PLT and peak gallbladder contraction. Gallbladder emptying in CP patients was not different from controls, although the postprandial CCK response was significantly impaired (P<0.01). Postprandial PP response in CP was correlated with the PLT result (r=0.78;P<0.01) but not with gallbladder emptying or refilling time. We conclude that gallbladder emptying and refilling following the oral administration of a test meal or the stimulation with a pharmacological dose of ceruletide is normal in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Postprandial gallbladder emptying is not influenced by the degree of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.