The distribution pattern and the function of blood immune cells were investigated for 10 weeks in three mixed-sex colonies of Long Evans rats. After colony formation, a despotic dominance system was established between the males. This paper focuses on differences between subdominant colony and pair-housed control males. A reduced body mass development and hormonal status in subdominant males indicate stressful colony conditions. Subdominant males had lower numbers of CD4 and CD8 T cells, pronounced granulocytosis and reduced lymphocyte proliferation rates as compared with controls. The persistency of changes in subdominant males offers the opportunity to investigate the effects of long-term immuno-modulation on health.