Raloxifene (RAL) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator presenting tissue-specific agonist activity. The aim of this study was to examine whether RAL has an estrogenic effect on carrageenan-induced acute inflammation. Adult female rats were ovariectomized (OVX) 7 wk before edema or pleurisy to deplete circulating estrogens. Edema formation and selected inflammatory markers in inflamed paw tissue were measured in intact (sham-operated) and OVX rats. Groups of OVX rats were treated with RAL (1, 3, or 10 mg/kg) or 17beta-estradiol (E2, 25 microg/kg), and these treatments began 2 d after surgery and continued until carrageenan paw edema or pleurisy. Ovariectomy amplifies the inflammation, and we found that RAL, as well as E2, attenuates inflammation and tissue damage associated with paw edema and pleurisy. In treated rats, there is a decrease in edema development and formation, and in polymorphonuclear cell infiltration and migration, as shown by myeloperoxidase measurement and cell counting. RAL and E2 treatments decrease cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in inflamed areas and counteract the inhibition of peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor-gamma expression caused by ovariectomy, restoring this receptor protein expression to sham-operated levels and identifying a possible peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor-dependent antiinflammatory effect of these drugs. Moreover, RAL and E2 increase cytoprotective heat shock protein 72 expression, which seems to be closely associated with the remission of the inflammatory reaction. In addition, we confirm the antiinflammatory effect of RAL in male rats, using a single administration of RAL or E2.