The influence of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and osmolality on mucin release in the rat colon was studied histochemically by determining number of stained mucin-containing cells. SCFA did not significantly influence the number of cells staining for mucin. Hypertonic solutions (360 mosm/l) did not affect mucin release in the proximal colon, but stimulated mucin release in the distal colon. Solutions of lower osmolality (300 or 250 mosm/l) caused a considerable release of mucin from goblet cells as well as vacuolated cells in both the proximal and the distal colon; the lower the osmolality, the more mucin was released. The mucosa of the distal colon was conspicuously affected by solutions of lower osmolality. The influence of osmolality on mucin release was entirely local.