Serum amyloid A3 (Saa3) derives mainly from extrahepatic tissue and is not detected in plasma from moderately inflamed obese mice. In contrast, it is present in plasma from mice acutely inflamed by injection of high dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To reconcile these differences, we evaluated whether different acute inflammatory stimuli could affect the presence of Saa3 in plasma. Saa3 appeared dose dependently in plasma after LPS injection. In contrast, only very low levels were detected after sterile inflammation with silver nitrate despite levels of Saa1 and Saa2 being comparable to high dose LPS. Saa3 was not detected in plasma following casein administration. Although most Saa3 was found in HDL, a small amount was not lipoprotein associated. Gene expression and proteomic analysis of liver and adipose tissue suggested that a major source of Saa3 in plasma after injection of LPS was adipose tissue rather than liver. We conclude that Saa3 only appears in plasma after induction of acute inflammation by some but not all inflammatory stimuli. These findings are consistent with the observation that Saa3 is not detectable in plasma in more moderate chronic inflammatory states such as obesity.