Feeding dairy cows diets high in easily degradable carbohydrates increases the incidence of rumen and systemic metabolic disorders; however, the triggering factor is not well understood. In this study, dairy cows were fed 4 different amounts of barley grain-based concentrate at 15, 30, 45, and 60% (dry matter basis) of a total mixed ration to determine whether alterations in the rumen environment would be associated with perturbations of the plasma profile of selected metabolites. In addition, associations among free rumen endotoxin and several plasma metabolites were determined. The study was a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with 8 rumen-cannulated lactating dairy cows (60 ± 15 d in milk). Multiple rumen fluid and blood plasma samples were collected and analyzed for pH and rumen fluid endotoxin and for concentrations of glucose, insulin, cholesterol, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA), and lactate in the plasma. Rumen pH decreased below 6.0, from 8 to 12h after the morning feeding, with the augmentation of the proportion of concentrate in the diet of ≥ 30%. Feeding diets with >30% concentrate resulted in a rise of free endotoxin in the rumen fluid (8.87 ± 0.39 μg/mL). Inclusion of 60% concentrate in the total mixed ration was associated with enhanced concentrations of glucose (64.5 ± 1.0 mg/dL) and lactate (540.9 ± 36.5 μmol/L) and lowered cholesterol (265.5 ± 13.7 mg/dL), BHBA (449.1 ± 47.4 μmol/L), and NEFA (138.8 ± 19.1 μEq/L) in the blood plasma. The regression analysis revealed that greater concentrations of plasma lactate and lower concentrations of cholesterol, BHBA, and NEFA were related to the rise of rumen endotoxin. Interestingly, 93% of the increase in the plasma lactate was explained by the rise of rumen endotoxin. Moreover, the analysis revealed inverse relationships of rumen endotoxin with plasma cholesterol (R(2)=0.47), BHBA (R(2)=0.37), and NEFA (R(2)=0.50) and a biphasic response of plasma insulin (R(2)=0.58). Taken together, feeding dairy cows diets rich in rumen-degradable carbohydrates and low in fiber led to lower rumen pH and a large accumulation of rumen endotoxin; the latter was correlated with perturbations of plasma metabolites allied to carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.