This study investigated the effects of dietary resveratrol at 0, 200, 400, or 600 mg/kg of diet on the performance, immune organ growth index, serum parameters, and expression levels of heat shock protein (Hsp) 27, Hsp70, and Hsp90 mRNA in the bursa of Fabricius, thymus, and spleen of 42-d-old female black-boned chickens exposed to heat stress at 37 +/- 2 degrees C for 15 d. The results showed that heat stress reduced daily feed intake and BW gain; decreased serum glutathione (GSH), growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels; and inhibited GSH peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT) activities compared with birds subjected to thermo-neutral circumstances. Chickens that were fed diets supplemented with resveratrol exhibited a linear increase in feed intake and BW gain (P < 0.001); serum GSH, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels (P </= 0.01); and GSH-Px, SOD, and CAT activities (P < 0.001) compared with chickens that were fed diets without resveratrol during heat stress. In contrast, serum malonaldehyde concentrations were decreased (P < 0.001) in the chickens fed a resveratrol-supplemented diet. Heat stress also reduced (P < 0.05) the growth index of the bursa of Fabricus and spleen; however, it had no effect on the growth index of the thymus. The growth index of the bursa of Fabricius and spleen increased (P < 0.05) upon heat stress and coincided with an increase in supplemental resveratrol levels. The expression of Hsp27, Hsp70, and Hsp90 mRNA in the bursa of Fabricius and spleen were increased (P < 0.01), but those of Hsp27 and Hsp90 mRNA in thymus were decreased (P < 0.01) under heat stress compared with no heat stress. Resveratrol attenuated the heat stress-induced overexpression of Hsp27, Hsp70, and Hsp90 mRNA in the bursa of Fabricius and spleen and increased the low expression of Hsp27 and Hsp90 mRNA in thymus upon heat stress. The results suggest that supplemental resveratrol improves growth performance and reduces oxidative stress in heat-stressed black-boned chickens by increasing serum growth hormone concentrations and modulating the expression of heat shock genes in organs of the immune system.