Eight new 5-arylidene-3-benzyl-thiazolidine-2,4-diones with halide groups on their benzyl rings were synthesized and assayed in vivo to investigate their anti-inflammatory activities. These compounds showed considerable biological efficacy when compared to rosiglitazone, a potent and well-known agonist of PPARgamma, which was used as a reference drug. This suggests that the substituted 5-arylidene and 3-benzylidene groups play important roles in the anti-inflammatory properties of this class of compounds. Docking studies with these compounds indicated that they exhibit specific interactions with key residues located in the site of the PPARgamma structure, which corroborates the hypothesis that these molecules are potential ligands of PPARgamma. In addition, competition binding assays showed that four of these compounds bound directly to the ligand-binding domain of PPARgamma, with reduced affinity when compared to rosiglitazone. An important trend was observed between the docking scores and the anti-inflammatory activities of this set of molecules. The analysis of the docking results, which takes into account the hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions between the ligands and the target, explained why the 3-(2-bromo-benzyl)-5-(4-methanesulfonyl-benzylidene)-thiazolidine-2,4-dione compound had the best activity and the best docking score. Almost all of the stronger hydrophilic interactions occurred between the substituted 5-arylidene group of this compound and the residues of the binding site.