Obesity increases severity of acute pancreatitis (AP) by unclear mechanisms. We investigated the effect of the PPAR-gamma agonist rosiglitazone (RGZ, 0.01% in the diet) on severity of AP induced by administration of IL-12+ IL-18 in male C57BL6 mice fed a low fat (LFD) or high fat diet (HFD), under the hypothesis that RGZ would reduce disease severity in HFD-fed obese animals. In both LFD and HFD mice without AP, RGZ significantly increased body weight and % fat mass, with significant upregulation of adiponectin and suppression of erythropoiesis. In HFD mice with AP, RGZ significantly increased survival and hastened recovery from pancreatic inflammation, as evaluated by significantly improved pancreatic histology, reduced saponification of visceral adipose tissue and less severe suppression of erythropoiesis at Day 7 post-AP. This was associated with significantly lower circulating and pancreas-associated levels of IL-6, Galectin-3, osteopontin and TIMP-1 in HFD + RGZ mice, particularly at Day 7 post-AP. In LFD mice with AP, RGZ significantly worsened the degree of intrapancreatic acinar and fat necrosis as well as visceral fat saponification, without affecting other parameters of disease severity or inflammation. Induction of AP lead to major suppression of adiponectin levels at Day 7 in both HFD and HFD + RGZ mice. In conclusion, RGZ prevents development of severe AP in obese mice even though it significantly increases adiposity, indicating that obesity can be dissociated from AP severity by improving the metabolic and inflammatory milieu. However, RGZ worsens selective parameters of AP severity in LFD mice.