We tested the hypothesis that dietary components reaching the bovine small intestine influence the expression of genes that encode the gastrointestinal neuropeptides cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The amount of digesta reaching the intestine was manipulated during the experiment by withholding feed from five heifers fitted with ruminal, duodenal, and ileal cannulas for 48 h and then subsequent refeeding. Duodenal and ileal biopsies were collected using a fiber-optic endoscope. A Northern hybridization procedure was used to evaluate changes in gene expression. Blood concentrations of CCK and GLP-1 were determined with RIA. The data indicate that CCK blood concentration and mRNA abundance decreased during the period of feed deprivation, but they returned to predeprivation values within 16 to 24 h of refeeding. The GLP-1 blood concentration also decreased during feed deprivation and returned to predeprivation values within 4 to 8 h of refeeding, despite the fact that proglucagon mRNA abundance did not change significantly during feed deprivation and refeeding. These findings provide evidence that CCK and GLP-1 are released in response to nutrients that reach the small intestine and may be involved in the physiological process of digestion and possibly play a role in regulating feed intake in ruminants.