Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a peptide hormone which is found both in the gastrointestinal tract throughout the human small intestine and nerves in the myenteric plexus of the enteric nervous system and in the central nervous system. This dual location constitutes the anatomical basis for this in functions as a hormone and a neurotransmitter implicated in the regulation of both systems. CCK regulates not only motor functions in the gastrointestinal tract like lower oesophageal sphincter relaxation, gastric secretion and emptying, gall bladder contractility and bile secretion into the duodenum, intestinal and colonic motility, but also sensory functions and plays a role in the regulation of food intake. These effects are mediated through selective receptors CCK1 and CCK2. Over the last few years, research has focused on understanding the role of CCK, its receptors with antagonists at the biological, pharmacological, clinical and therapeutic level. As far as the CCK1 antagonists is concerned, important inroads have been made in the potential role of these antagonists in the treatment of GERD, IBS and pancreatitis. They have also shown encouraging results in sphincter of Oddi dysfunction and some gastrointestinal cancers. This review focuses on the recent advances of the biological role of CCK and their CCK1 antagonists: their current basic and clinical status in gastroenterology, with particular emphasis on the potential therapeutic role of the CCK1 antagonists and future research directions. Copyright © 2006 S. Karger AG.