The responses of the circular muscle of canine colon to stimulation of intrinsic nerves and to the probable mediators of these nerves were studied in vivo. In vivo studies were carried out using close intra-arterial injections and local field stimulation of proximal, mid-, and distal colon while recording circumferential contractions. Our results suggest that acetylcholine is the major excitatory mediator, but another excitatory mediator could be released by high frequency field stimulation after atropine. Norepinephrine had mixed inhibitory and excitatory effects, but no evidence was obtained that it was released by field stimulation. Substance P had mainly excitatory effects partly by a mechanism involving nerves and partly by a direct effect on muscle; it in addition to norepinephrine deserves further evaluation as the mediator of noncholinergic excitation to high frequency field stimulation. There is no explanation of the inhibition it produced after initial excitation during field stimulation. Vasoactive intestinal peptide had inhibitory effects but these were incomplete and inconsistent. This may be related to our inability to demonstrate relaxation or inhibition to field stimulation after atropine. Further evaluation of the possible role of vasoactive intestinal peptide and other agents as nonadrenergic, noncholinergic inhibitory mediators is required.