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Feeding highly fermentable diets to ruminants is one strategy to increase energy intake. The increase in short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production and reduced ruminal pH associated with highly fermentable diets imposes a challenge to the metabolism and the regulation of intracellular pH homeostasis of ruminal epithelia. The ruminal epithelia respond to these challenges in a coordinated manner. Whereas the enlargement of absorptive surface area is well documented, emerging evidence at the mRNA and transporter and enzyme activity levels indicate that changes in epithelial cell function may be the initial response. It is not surprising that gene expression analysis has identified pathways involved in fatty acid metabolism, ion transport, and intracellular homeostasis to be the pathways dominantly affected during adaptation and after adaptation to a highly fermentable diet. These findings are important because the intraepithelial metabolism of SCFA, particularly butyrate, helps to maintain the concentration gradient between the cytosol and lumen, thereby facilitating absorption. Butyrate metabolism also controls the intracellular availability of butyrate, which is widely regarded as a signaling molecule. Current data indicate that for butyrate metabolism, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase and acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase are potential regulatory points with transient up- and downregulation during diet adaptation. In addition to nutrient transport and utilization, genes involved in the maintenance of cellular tight junction integrity and induction of inflammation have been identified as differentially expressed genes during adaptation to highly fermentable diets. This may have important implications on ruminal epithelial barrier function and the inflammatory response often associated with subacute ruminal acidosis. The objective of this review is to summarize ruminal epithelial adaptation to highly fermentable diets focusing on the changes at the enzyme and transporter activity levels, as well as the underlying molecular changes at the mRNA and protein expression levels.