Our aim was to determine the speed of onset of total parenteral nutrition (TPN)-induced mucosal atrophy, and whether this is associated with changes in intestinal blood flow and tissue metabolism in neonatal piglets. Piglets were implanted with jugular venous and duodenal catheters and either a portal venous or superior mesenteric artery (SMA) blood flow probe. At 3 wk of age, piglets were randomly assigned to receive continuous enteral formula feeding (n = 8) or TPN (n = 17) for 24 or 48 h. Blood flow was recorded continuously and piglets were given an i.v. bolus of bromodeoxyuridine and 13C-phenylalanine to measure crypt cell proliferation and protein synthesis, respectively. After 8 h of TPN, portal and SMA blood flow decreased 30% compared with enteral feeding (P < 0.01), and remained near levels of food-deprived piglets for the remaining 48 h of TPN. After 24 h, TPN reduced jejunal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity and protein abundance (P < 0.05), small intestinal weight, and villous height (P < 0.01) compared with enterally fed piglets. Cell proliferation and DNA mass were decreased (P < 0.05) and apoptosis increased (P < 0.05) after 48 h of TPN. Protein synthesis was lower (P < 0.05) after 24 h of TPN, and protein mass was lower (P < 0.05) after 48 h of TPN, compared with enteral feeding. These data indicate that the transition from enteral to parenteral nutrition induced a rapid (< 8 h) decrease in intestinal blood flow, and this likely precedes villous atrophy and the suppression of protein synthesis at 24 h, and of cell proliferation and survival at 48 h. J. Nutr. 134: 1467-1474, 2004.