A macrophage assay and proteomic screening were used to investigate the biological activity of soluble factors in the plasma of millimeter wave-exposed rats. NR8383 rat macrophages were incubated for 24 h with 10% plasma from male Sprague–Dawley rats that had been exposed to sham conditions, or exposed to 42 °C environmental heat or 35 GHz millimeter waves at 75 mW/cm2 until core temperature reached 41.0 °C. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, image analysis, and Western blotting were used to analyze approximately 600 protein spots in the cell lysates for changes in protein abundance and levels of 3-nitrotyrosine, a marker of macrophage stimulation. Proteins of interest were identified using peptide mass fingerprinting. Compared to plasma from sham-exposed rats, plasma from environmental heat- or millimeter wave-exposed rats increased the expression of 11 proteins, and levels of 3-nitrotyrosine in seven proteins, in the NR8383 cells. These altered proteins are associated with inflammation, oxidative stress, and energy metabolism. Findings of this study indicate both environmental heat and 35 GHz millimeter wave exposure elicit the release of macrophage-activating mediators into the plasma of rats. Bioelectromagnetics 31:656–663, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.