The study is undertaken to determine the effect of adrenal corticosteriod depletion after adrenalectomy on carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism as well as maturation and functional efficacy of the immunocompetent cells. Beside biochemical and hematological parameters, whether in vivo glucocorticoid depletion has any modulatory effects on splenic macrophage responses to bacterial challenge with regards to intracellular killing, nitric oxide release and cellular integrity, were determined. Major findings of our study indicate that blood glucose, urea and total inorganic phosphate levels showed a time dependent increase in adrenalectomized rats compared to control. Total glycogen content in liver was decreased gradually due to adrenal corticosteroid insufficiency. Hematological parameters like hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit value, total leukocyte count and differential count were also found to increase in the adrenalectomized group with respect to intact group. From the functional study of immunocompetent cells, intracellular killing capacity of splenic macrophages recovered from control and adrenalectomized rats after 10 and 20 days of adrenalectomy showed no significant alteration; however, the function of splenic macrophages recovered from rats after 30 days of adrenalectomy showed altered response. Nitric oxide released from splenic macrophages of adrenalectomized rats was less than that of control animal even after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide. DNA fragmentation assay showed a lesser degree of fragmentation of splenic macrophages obtained from adrenalectomized rats indicating, apoptotic death of cells in this group decreases. Adrenal corticosteroid insufficiency due to adrenalectomy interferes with metabolic and hematopoietic functions and modulates the development and maintenance of normal immunitary status, which in turn influences the inflammatory response. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.