Bothrops atrox is responsible for most accidents involving snakes in the Brazilian Amazon and its venom induces serious systemic and local effects. The local effects are not neutralized effectively by commercial antivenoms, resulting in serious sequelae in individuals bitten by this species. This study investigates the local inflammatory events induced in mice by B. atrox venom (Bay), such as vascular permeability, leukocyte influx and the release of important inflammatory mediators such as cytokines, eicosanoids and the chemokine CCL-2, at the injection site. The effect of Bay on cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) expression was also investigated. The results showed that intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of BaV promoted a rapid and significant increase in vascular permeability, which reached a peak 1 h after venom administration. Furthermore, BaV caused leukocyte infiltration into the peritoneal cavity between 1 and 8 h after i.p. injection, with mononuclear leukocytes (MNs) predominating in the first 4 h, and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) in the last 4 h. Increased protein expression of COX-2, but not of COX-1, was detected in leukocytes recruited in the first and fourth hours after injection of BaV. The venom caused the release of eicosanoids PGD(2), PGE(2), TXA(2) and LTB4, cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-12p70, but not IFN-gamma, and chemokine CCL-2 at different times. The results show that Bay is able to induce an early increase in vascular permeability and a leukocyte influx to the injection site consisting mainly of MNs initially and PMNs during the later stages. These phenomena are associated with the production of cytokines, the chemokine CCL-2 and eicosanoids derived from COX-1 and COX-2. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.