The in vitro macrophage response to zymosan has been attributed to Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). Whether TLR2 is obligatory for the zymosan-induced in vivo response has not been assessed. The importance of this question is underscored by the fact that zymosan activates complement in a cell-independent manner. We have investigated whether the in vitro observation of TLR2 as the dominant zymosan receptor on macrophages would translate to an experimental peritonitis model in vivo. We have treated mice with zymosan, resulting in significant leukocyte (primarily neutrophil) accumulation in the peritoneum at 4 h. Zymosan-mediated leukocyte recruitment was TLR2 independent, but was predominantly dependent on the complement components, C3 and C5a with a minor contribution from LTB4. Peritoneal neutrophilia was 50% mast cell dependent and this defect was reproduced using C5a receptor (C5aR)-deficient mast cells in mast cell-deficient mice, suggesting that C5aR is responsible for mast cell activation following zymosan challenge. By 24 h, the response to zymosan involved primarily monocyte recruitment and was C3 and C5aR independent. Taken together, these studies indicate that the in vivo inflammatory response to zymosan does not necessarily mimic the TLR2 dependence observed in vitro, and that complement plays a dominant role in early, but not late, zymosan-mediated peritonitis.