To differentiate the mechanisms whereby actively absorbed glucose and passively absorbed oleic acid increase blood flow and oxygen uptake during their absorption, the effects of these two nutrients on jejunal blood flow, arteriovenous oxygen difference [(a-v)O2], O2 uptake, absorption, rubidium extraction, and capillary permeability-surface area product (PS) were compared in anesthetized dogs. Oleic acid (37 mM) produced significantly greater hyperemia (+28.2%) than glucose (270 mM) did (+12.5%). As estimated by (a-v)O2, tissue oxygen extraction was decreased by oleic acid (-12%) but increased by glucose (+6.5%); the increases in O2 uptake by these two nutrients did not differ significantly. Glucose absorption was accompanied by an increase in rubidium extraction and capillary PS (+11.3%), whereas oleic acid absorption was not. Unlike glucose, intra-arterial infusion of oleic acid decreased vascular resistance and increased blood flow equally to the mucosa and muscularis layers. A significant relation existed between oleic acid absorption and blood flow but not between glucose absorption and blood flow. The enhancement of glucose-induced hyperemia by bile was not related to glucose absorption. Unmasking of oleic acid-induced hyperemia by bile is unrelated to oleic acid absorption but is related to solubility of oleic acid in aqueous solution. The above findings suggest that glucose absorption affects both resistance and exchange vessels, whereas oleic acid absorption affects primarily resistance vessels.