Secretory phospholipase A(2) (sPLA(2)), abundantly expressed in various cells including fibroblasts, is able to promote proliferation and migration. Degradation of collagenous extracellular matrix by matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) plays a role in the pathogenesis of various destructive disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, tumor invasion, and metastasis. Here we show that group IB PLA(2) increased pro-MMP-2 activation in NIH3T3 fibroblasts. MMP-2 activity was stimulated by group IB PLA(2) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Consistent with MMP-2 activation, sPLA(2) decreased expression of type IV collagen. These effects are due to the reduction of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2) and the activation of the membrane type1-MMP (MT1-MMP). The decrease of TIMP-2 levels in conditioned media and the increase of MT1-MMP levels in plasma membrane were observed. In addition, treatment of cells with decanoyl Arg-Val-Lys-Arg-chloromethyl ketone, an inhibitor of pro-MT1-MMP, suppressed sPLA(2)-mediated MMP-2 activation, whereas treatment with bafilomycin A1, an inhibitor of H(+)-ATPase, sustained MMP-2 activation by sPLA(2). The involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt in the regulation of MMP-2 activity was further suggested by the findings that PI3K and Akt were phosphorylated by sPLA(2). Expression of p85alpha and Akt mutants, or pretreatment of cells with LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, attenuated sPLA(2)-induced MMP-2 activation and migration. Taken together, these results suggest that sPLA(2) increases the pro-MMP-2 activation and migration of fibroblasts via the PI3K and Akt-dependent pathway. Because MMP-2 is an important factor directly involved in the control of cell migration and the turnover of extracellular matrix, our study may provide a mechanism for sPLA(2)-promoted fibroblasts migration.