An experimental design aiming at analysing the consequences of genetic selection from 1977 to 1998–2000 on the evolution of stress-responsive systems in the French Large White (LW) and Landrace (LR) pig populations was conducted by INRA and IFIP-Institut du Porc. Large White sows were inseminated with semen from LW boars born in 1977 (frozen semen) or in 1998 and their second-generation offspring were station-tested. Landrace sows were inseminated with semen from LR boars born in 1977 (frozen semen) or in 1999 to 2000, and their progeny was station-tested. Urinary concentration of stress hormones (cortisol and catecholamines) and traits related to carcass composition (estimated carcass lean content (ECLC) and global adiposity) and meat quality (pH 24 h) were measured. For the two populations, selection carried out since 1977 led to an increase in ECLC and a decrease in carcass adiposity. Between 1977 and 1998 to 2000, urinary concentrations of stress hormones were unchanged in the LR breed, but were decreased in the LW breed. Moreover, for the animals generated from LW boars born in 1977 and in 1998, urinary cortisol levels were negatively correlated with ECLC. Therefore, in the LW breed, selection carried out for higher ECLC resulted in a decrease in cortisol production, as well as a reduction of catecholamine production that may be responsible for the lower ultimate pH of meat. Therefore, selection carried out for increased carcass lean content led, in this breed, to large modifications in the functioning of the stress-responsive systems, thereby influencing a large range of physiological regulations and technical properties such as carcass composition and meat pH, which remained however in the normal range for acceptable meat quality.