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The present in vitro experiment was conducted to study the effect of two concentrations of short chain fatty acids [SCFA: 0 (control), 40 and 100 mmol/l in the buffer solution on mucosal side] on calcium ion (Ca2+) transport across the isolated rumen epithelium of two groups of sheep. One group was subjected to hay ad libitum, whereas the other to concentrate feed (800 g per day in equal portion at 7.00 and 15.00 hours and hay ad lib). The conventional Ussing chamber method was used for measuring the Ca2+ transport rates (45Ca), short-circuit current (Isc) and tissue conductance (GT) of isolated rumen epithelium. The SCFA significantly increased Isc of the epithelia of concentrate-fed sheep. In both hay- and concentrate-fed animals, 45Ca flux rates showed an almost linear increase in net flux rate () with rising concentrations of SCFA, as a result of a combined effect of a large increase in mucosal-to-serosal flux rates () and an almost linear, but small, decrease in serosal-to-mucosal flux rate (). In concentrate-fed sheep and were significantly higher in tissues incubated with SCFA compared with hay-fed animals. The well-known adaptable morphological and functional changes in the rumen epithelium attributable to concentrate feeding obviously include Ca2+ transport; such feeding therefore may be considered as a possible prophylactic measure in the prevention of milk fever.