The mechanism was studied of the anti-inflammatory effect of oral zinc (114 mg/kg/day of elemental metal, given for 14 days) on the development of the carrageenan-induced paw oedema of the rat, and the impact of in vivo treatment on the activity of neutrophils isolated from the blood of inflamed and non-inflamed animals. The effects of the in vitro incubation with the metal on either non-inflamed or inflamed neutrophils coming from zinc-untreated rats were also examined. It was found that the administration of oral zinc inhibited markedly the process of ex vivo adhesion of the cells obtained from the inflamed rats (an observation confirmed by the in vitro experiments). In vitro release of lysozyme and superoxide anion productions were measured: in the absence of zinc, the 30′ of pre-incubation carried out before stimulating with PMA did not influence the cell's reactivity of the non-inflamed neutrophils. It was, on the contrary, capable of significantly reducing that of the inflamed ones. As a consequence, it is quite difficult to properly interpret the data obtained studying the activity of the cells exposed to the metal in vitro.