In the present study, we found that serum amyloid A (SAA) stimulated matrix-metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) upregulation at the transcription and translational levels in THP-1 cells. SAA stimulated the activation of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), which was required for the MMP-9 upregulation by SAA. The signaling events induced by SAA included the activation of ERK and intracellular calcium rise, which were found to be required for MMP-9 upregulation. Formyl peptide receptor like 1 (FPRL1) was found to be involved in the upregulation of MMP-9 by SAA. Among several FPRL1 agonists, including Trp-Lys-Tyr-Met-Val-D-Met (WKYMVm), SAA selectively stimulated MMP-9 upregulation. With respect to the molecular mechanisms involved in the differential action of SAA and WKYMVm, we found that SAA could not competitively inhibit the binding of 125I-labeled WKYMVm to FPRL1. Taken together, we suggest that SAA plays a role in the modulation of inflammatory and immune responses via FPRL1, by inducing MMP-9 upregulation in human monocytic cells.