Abstract Patients with acute pancreatitis often suffer from intestinal motility disturbances but the mechanism of this dysfunction is largely unknown. We studied the effect of acute necrotising pancreatitis (ANP) on in vivo gastrointestinal motility and in vitro intestinal contractility in mice. ANP was induced non-invasively by feeding young female mice a choline-deficient ethionine-supplemented (CDE) diet during 72 h. Gastric emptying and intestinal transit were measured in vivo 15 min after intragastric gavage of a semiliquid Evans blue bolus. Gastric and intestinal neuromuscular function was determined in vitro on isolated muscle strips. ANP significantly decreased gastric emptying from 61.2 ± 9.8 to 34.9 ± 7.1% and intestinal transit from 63.4 ± 5.6 to 32.5 ± 5.4%. ANP did not affect receptor-dependent and receptor-independent gastric muscle contractions except the contractions to substance P, which were slightly inhibited. In intestinal muscle strips, ANP significantly decreased contractions to EFS, carbachol, PGF2α, substance P and KCl. Our results show that ANP delays gastric emptying in vivo, associated with a specific reduction in substance P contractility in vitro. ANP also impairs intestinal transit in vivo, associated with a non-specific reduction of intestinal contractility in vitro. We conclude that ANP impairs gastrointestinal motility in mice with underlying regional differences in the pathogenic mechanisms.