Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 173, Issue 5, pp 391–399 | Cite as

Effects of seasonal changes in food quality and food intake on the transport of sodium and butyrate across ruminal epithelium of reindeer

  • P. V. StoreheierEmail author
  • J. Sehested
  • L. Diernæs
  • M. A. Sundset
  • S. D. Mathiesen
Original Paper


Transport of 22Na and 14C-butyrate across the ruminal epithelium of captive reindeer fed a concentrate diet in summer (n=5) and in winter (n=5) and from free-ranging reindeer taken from summer (n=3) and winter pasture (n=5) was measured in vitro in Ussing chambers. Significant amounts of both Na+ and butyrate were transported across the isolated epithelium without any external driving force. The ruminal transport of Na+ and butyrate were interacting, as evidenced by both the observed amiloride-induced reduction of net butyrate-transport and by the positive correlation between net transport of butyrate and Na+. Amiloride also reduced the net transport of Na+ without significantly affecting the short-circuit current, indicating the presence of an apical Na+/H+ exchanger in the ruminal epithelium of reindeer. The captive reindeer increased the dry matter intake of a constant quality concentrate from winter to summer, but this neither affected their ruminal transport capacity nor their ruminal surface enlargement factor (SEF). Free-ranging reindeer increased their ruminal transport capacity for Na+ and butyrate from summer to winter but simultaneously reduced their ruminal SEF. The present data indicate that this food-induced increase in transport capacity was attributed to changes in the nutrient composition of the diet.


Rumen epithelium Short-chain fatty acids Epithelial transport Voluntary feed intake Surface enlargement factor 



body mass


dry matter


dry matter intake


short-circuit current




mucosa to serosa


potential difference




short chain fatty acid


surface enlargement factor


serosa to mucosa



The authors gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of reindeer herders Aslat Mahtte Gaup, Mathis A. Gaup, Helge Oskal, Per Mathis Oskal and Arild Pettersen. Furthermore, we acknowledge Heidi Rogn Bendiksen and Britt Nanny Fuglesteg for technical help with estimations of SEF. This study was supported by the University of Tromsø, the Reindeer Husbandry Research Fund, the Roald Amundsen Centre for Arctic Research (University of Tromsø) and the Centre for Sámi Studies (University of Tromsø). All experiments were carried out with permission from the Norwegian Commission for Ethics in Animal Experimentation, under the auspices of the Norwegian Veterinary Authorities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. V. Storeheier
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Sehested
    • 2
  • L. Diernæs
    • 2
  • M. A. Sundset
    • 1
  • S. D. Mathiesen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Arctic Biology and Institute of Medical BiologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Danish Institute of Agricultural SciencesResearch Centre FoulumTjeleDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Arctic Veterinary MedicineThe Norwegian School of Veterinary ScienceTromsøNorway

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