Matrix metalloproteinases are responsible for degradation and remodelling of extracellular matrix and exert important roles in initiation and progression of inflammatory diseases. We aimed to examine the role of Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their regulators in degenerative arterial diseases. Serum samples were collected from patients with arterial disease (n = 126), who underwent surgery because of symptomatic aorto-occlusive disease (AOD, n = 18), carotid artery stenosis (n = 67) or abdominal arotic aneurysm (n = 41). Serum MMP-1, MMP-8, MMP-13, TIMP-1, myeloperoxidase (MPO) and neutrophil elastase (HNE) concentrations were determined by ELISA, and the molar ratio of MMP-8 and TIMP-1 was calculated. To get reference values, the determinations were done on samples of healthy blood donors (n = 100). In univariate analyses, the patients had higher MMP-8 (P < 0.001), TIMP-1 (P = 0.045), and MMP-8/TIMP-1 (P < 0.001), and lower MPO (P < 0.001) when compared with the blood donors. All three subgroups had higher MMP-8 (P < 0.001) and MMP-8/TIMP-1 (P < 0.001), and lower MPO (P < 0.01, except AOD) levels when compared with the references. In multiple logistic regression analyses, the male gender (P < 0.01), age (P < 0.001), elevated MMP-8 (P < 0.001) and decreased MPO (P < 0.001) concentrations associated significantly with the risk for arterial disease, and provided an area under curve (AUC) of 0.97 in the Receiver operating characteristics analyses. In multiple linear regression analyses, HNE correlated with both MMP-8 (P < 0.001) and MPO (P = 0.008) concentrations. Combination of high MMP-8 and low MPO level in serum eventually reflecting selectively modified neutrophil degranulation may indicate increased risk for arterial disease.