Immune function and hepatic MFO activity were examined in adult and nestling starlings administered a synthetic PAH, 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA). Methods used to examine the starling immune system included immunopathology, macrophage phagocytosis, lymphocyte blastogenesis to concanavalin A, and hemagglutination of sheep erythrocytes (SRBC). Concomitant investigations of MFO activity were conducted in starlings exposed to DMBA. Ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) and pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase (PROD) were used as indicators of hepatic MFO activity. Changes in MFO activity were compared to chemically altered immune responses following DMBA exposure. Subcutaneous exposure of adult starlings to 125 mg/kg DMBA resulted in suppression of lymphocyte blastogenesis and antibody production to SRBC. EROD and PROD activity were increased 2.8- and 3.4-fold, respectively. Lymphocyte blastogenesis was impaired in adult starlings orally exposed to 125 mg/kg DMBA. The immune system of nestling starlings exposed orally to 100 mg/kg DMBA was altered, as evidenced by decreased phagocytic ability of macrophages and inhibition of lymphocyte blastogenesis. Oral exposure to DMBA did not induce MFO activity in starlings of either age class. Effects of DMBA on immune function and MFO activity in starlings varied with the age of birds and route and length of chemical exposure.