The role of bile salt absorption in bile-induced disruption of the esophageal mucosal barrier was determined using the continuously perfused rabbit esophagus model. Mucosal barrier disruption was determined by measuring net flux of hydrogen ion, potassium, and glucose. Bile salt absorption was measured by determining net flux of radiolabeled bile salt solution using liquid scintillation counting. Bile salt-containing solutions were prepared with varying concentrations of two bile salts, taurocholate and deoxycholate. The pH of the bile salt exposure also was varied to vary the extent of mucosal injury. The results show that changes in bile salt concentration and in pH of exposure were associated with significant differences in both extent of mucosal barrier disruption and bile salt absorption. Bile salt absorption was associated by direct linear correlation with each index of mucosal barrier function studied. These findings suggest that bile salt absorption plays a role in bile-induced disruption of the esophageal mucosal barrier.