Little is known about immune responses in teleosts as linked to the aetiology of pollutants and parasitic diseases and in particular their combined effects on the host. Cadmium(Cd)-mediated immunological responses in the thymus and pronephros of juvenile carp (Cyprinus carpio), experimentally infected with the blood parasite, Sanguinicola inermis (Trematoda: Sanguinicolidae) for 30 days followed by an exposure to 0.1 mg Cd2+ l(-1) for 48 or 168 h were investigated. Differential organ-specific changes occurred in both organs examined. In carp exposed to Cd, intracelluar spaces, vacuolation in the eosinophils, dissociation of cell membranes together with the formation of concentric whorls occurred. The thymus of infected carp exposed to Cd had a granular cytosol which contained vesicles with electron-dense inclusions, swollen mitochondria with distended cristae and condensed nuclei in the erythrocytes. Cell counts on the two organs revealed a differential response to cadmium exposure in S. inermis infected carp compared to control infected fish. A significant increase in the neutrophil, eosinophil and thrombocyte components occurred in the thymus in contrast to a significant decrease in pronephric neutrophils. In addition, there was a differential blastogenesis response in infected and Cd-exposed infected carp fry exposed to cercarial antigens and the mitogens, concanavalin A and pokeweed mitogen.