Rabbit synovial fibroblasts in monolayer culture secrete a specific collagenase and a neutral endopeptidase into their serum-free culture medium. The rate of secretion of these two enzymes is increased after the ingestion and storage of latex particles within the vacuolar system of the cells. The increased rates of secretion of the neutral enzymes are stable for over 2 wk in the absence of a further phagocytic bout. In constrast there is little change in the extracellular levels of two lysosomal hydrolases, cathepsin D and ß-glucuronidase. The increase in the secretory rates for the two neutral enzymes is related to the number of latex particles ingested by the cells, and increases of up to 12-fold over the nonphagocytosing cultures were observed. A variety of other materials including mycostatin particles and dextran sulfate also induced increases in the secretion of collagenase. These results are discussed in relation to the turnover of connective tissue matrix macromolecules.

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