This study was designed to determine the effect of exogenous bombesin (10 mug/kg/day, subcutaneously, three times a day) on intestinal hypomotility and neutrophil infiltration in the early and late phases of burn injury (partial-thickness, second-degree burn of the skin). In acute (2 h after burn injury) or chronic (3 days after) burn groups, intestinal transit was delayed, which was reversed by bombesin treatment. In the acute burn group, but not in the chronic group, increased MPO activity was also reduced by bombesin treatment. The results demonstrate that bombesin ameliorates the intestinal inflammation due to burn injury, involving a neutrophil-dependent mechanism. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.