Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) has been shown to increase the histamine release from gastric enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells and promote gastric acid secretion in rats. In contrast, in mice, PACAP has been demonstrated to induce a decrease of gastric acid secretion, an effect presumably due to somatostatin release. To more clearly define the role of PACAP in the regulation of gastric acid output, a knockout mouse model for the PACAP-specific receptor PAC1 was applied in this study. Measurements of the basal and stimulated gastric acid secretion and morphological studies on the gastric mucosa were performed in both wild-type and PAC1-deficient mice. Compared with the wild-type mice, the PAC1-deficient mice showed a nearly threefold higher basal gastric acid output, increased gastric mucosa thickness and glands height, and proportional increases in parietal and total cell counts in the gastric mucosa. The PAC1-deficient mice also showed a trend of increased plasma gastrin levels and gastrin gene expression in the gastric mucosa. This study indicates that the expression of PAC1 is clearly important for maintaining the homeostasis of gastric acid secretion. Loss of PACAP receptor during development may lead to a compensatory mechanism regulating gastric acid secretion.