Ten-, 20-, and 35-day-old mice were subjected to an aerosol containing Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The lung clearance of the organism was decreased in mice under 20 days of age. This deficiency was accompanied by decreased migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) to the airways in response to the P. aeruginosa challenge. Similar results were obtained in both outbred, C5-sufficient Swiss mice and inbred, C5-deficient DBA/2 mice. The diminished clearance of P. aeruginosa was related to a transient, age-related decrease in PMN chemotaxis to formyl-methionyl oligopeptides. PMN chemotaxis levels similar to those seen in adults were regained by day 35 after birth.