A burned guinea-pig model (30 per cent BSA) was used to study the effect of vitamin C on immune and metabolic responses following burn trauma. Thirty-six guinea-pigs received identical enteral diets (175 kcal/kg) except for the amount of vitamin C. Groups I, II, III and IV were given formulae delivering no vitamin C, (1 RDA) 15 mg/kg/day, 75 mg/kg/day or 375 mg/kg/day, respectively. Resistance to infection was evaluated by injecting each animal with 0.1 ml of 1 x 10(9) Staph. aureus 502A subcutaneously on day 10. On day 14, Staph. aureus abscesses were excised and the numbers of viable colonies were determined. Results showed no statistical differences between groups in the clearance of Staph. aureus. From days 2 to 12, animals in groups I, II and III had body weights of approximately 97 per cent of preburn body weight. Animals in group IV, however, had a body weight gain, 102 per cent of preburn body weight on day 12. Animals in group IV also had significantly lower metabolic rates on day 12 as compared to the animals in the other groups. These results suggest that large amounts of vitamin C have beneficial effects on the maintenance of body weight and metabolic rate following burn trauma.