MMPs play an important role in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. We analyzed replicate serum samples from 20 normal healthy individuals to assess reproducibility of MMP determinations, and found that MMP-2 and MMP-9 determinations were quite consistent. We then studied the serum levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in patients suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), another stroke subtype. Serum MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels from SAH patients were measured sequentially using gelatine zymography in 11 patients after acute SAH. The occurrence of intracerebral aneurysms and vasospasms and the initial Hunt and Hess score were analysed in relation to MMP-levels. MMP-2 levels are significantly decreased while MMP-9 levels are increased in SAH patients relative to controls. MMP-2 levels remain depressed out to day 12 post SAH, but MMP-9 levels may recover by day 12.