This study was designed to examine the storage capacity for vitamin E in liver, adipose tissue and skeletal muscle of growing pigs during a period of supplementation and of depletion. Therefore, biopsy specimens of these tissues and samples of serum were frequently taken from 7 pigs throughout the experimental period. After a 7-week period on a diet highly supplemented with vitamin E (405 mg/kg), a significant increase (p less than 0.001) in the concentration of this vitamin was observed in all tissues sampled. The highest level (102.9 +/- 26.2 mg/kg) was observed in the liver. After 2 days of depletion the concentration of vitamin E in the liver had fallen by 80%, whereas the concentration in the fat and muscle remained unchanged during 1 week of depletion. The serum vitamin E value rose significantly (p less than 0.001) after 1 week on the supplemented diet and then remained at about 7 mg/l throughout the supplementation period and decreased (p less than 0.001) after 2 days on a nonsupplemented diet. Generally, the serum vitamin E levels among growing pigs are between 2 and 3 mg/l. The results show that the serum and liver values were correlated when the serum level was within this range. Moreover, it is clearly demonstrated that the concentrations of vitamin E in serum and liver reflect the immediate nutritional status of the animal, whereas the vitamin concentrations in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue reflect its long-term nutritional history.