Renal expression of MMP-2, -9, and tissue inhibitor of MMP-1 (TIMP-1) correlates with histological disease activity in anti-neutrophil cytoplasm autoantibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV). We studied whether urinary and plasma levels of MMP-2, -9, and TIMP-1 reflect renal expression of these proteins and renal disease-activity in AAV. Urine and plasma samples of patients with AAV who underwent a renal biopsy were collected (n = 32). Urinary activity of MMP-2 and -9 was measured by activity assays. Urinary and plasma levels of MMP-2, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 proteins were measured by ELISA. Healthy controls provided plasma and urine for comparison (n = 31). In patients, the relationship of urinary and plasma levels with renal expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 and clinical and histological disease activity was studied. Renal MMP expression was compared between patients and controls (n = 8). Urinary MMP-2 and MMP-9 activity and urinary and plasma TIMP-1 levels were significantly higher in patients than in controls. In glomeruli of patients, both MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression reflected active glomerular inflammation. Urinary activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 did not correlate with renal MMP expression or plasma levels. Urinary MMP activity correlated negatively with glomerular inflammation, but positively with fibrous crescents. Urinary MMP-2 and TIMP-1 levels showed a positive correlation with tubulointerstitial damage and a negative correlation with creatinine clearance. Urinary MMP-2, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 are elevated in AAV but do not reflect renal MMP expression and glomerular inflammation. However, urinary MMP-2 activity and TIMP-1 levels reflect tubulointerstitial damage and correlate negatively with creatinine clearance at biopsy. Copyright © 2007 the American Physiological Society.