1. In an attempt to investigate calcium absorption in the rat during the postprandial period, with the least alteration of the physical environment, the undisturbed small intestine was ligated in situ 2·5 or 3·0 h after ingestion of a diet containing 200 g casein/kg or an equivalent amino acid mixture, or 925 g casein/kg. Estimation of Ca absorption was made by comparing the amount of soluble 40Ca or 45Ca in the contents of segments from the rats receiving 45Ca by intubation 30 min after withdrawal of food, ligated after a further 30 min, then killed after 0 or 30 min.
2. Under conditions such that the estimated amount of a marker, polyethylene glycol, in segments ligated in a defined position was little changed in rats killed 30 min apart, the difference in the amount of soluble 40Ca was much higher in the rats fed on the basal diet containing 200 g casein/kg than in other groups.
3. This specific effect on Ca absorption, particularly in the distal portion of the small intestine, could be seen also after 45Ca was directly injected into ligated segments in situ. The amount of 45Ca in the portal blood 15 min after injection of the label was also highest in the rats given the basal diet.
4. The results were in agreement with our previous findings that the formation and accumulation of casein phosphopeptides causes an increase in the amount of soluble Ca in the distal small intestine.