Results of previous studies suggest that major surgical resections or reconstructions of the distal small intestine can alter morphologic and functional properties of the stomach. Little is known about the effect of lesser surgical alterations, such as construction of an ileostomy, on the morphology and transport properties of the gastric mucosa. To evaluate the effects of ileostomy, Sprague-Dawley rats underwent sham laparotomy (n = 10) or loop ileostomy construction (n = 10). After body weights had stabilized (∼21 days), the animals were killed. Gastric mucosal scrapings were prepared for Northern blot analysis of messenger RNA levels for (1) H/K ATPase, found in parietal cells; (2) Na-K-2Cl cotransporter, found in both parietal and surface cells; and (3) Na/K ATPase, found in all gastric mucosal cells. Gastric mucosa from ileostomy animals was visibly hypertrophied compared to sham-operated animals. There was a 145% increase in the mRNA levels of the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter in gastric mucosa of the ileostomy group but no significant changes in H/K ATPase or Na/K ATPase mRNA levels. Construction of an ileostomy selectively enhances expression of the Na-K-Cl cotransporter in the gastric mucosa. Further studies are required to understand the neurohumoral stimuli underlying this selective response.