The complement system is important both in the innate and adaptive immune response, with C3 as the central protein of all three activation pathways. Apolipoprotein A-I (ApoLP A-I), a high-density lipoprotein (HDL), has been shown to have a regulatory role in the complement system by inhibiting the formation of the membrane attack complex (MAC). Complement has been associated with apoptotic functions, which are important in the immune response and are involved in organ formation and homeostasis. mRNA probes for cod C3 and ApoLP A-I were synthesized and in situ hybridisation used to monitor the ontogenic development of cod from fertilised eggs until 57 days after hatching. Both C3 and ApoLP A-I transcription was detected in the central nervous system (CNS), eye, kidney, liver, muscle, intestines, skin and chondrocytes at different stages of development. Using TUNEL staining, apoptotic cells were identified within the same areas from 4 to 57 days posthatching. The present findings may suggest a role for C3 and ApoLP A-I during larval development and a possible role in the homeostasis of various organs in cod.