The foreign body reaction (FBR) differs between subcutaneously and supra-epicardially implanted materials. We hypothesize that this is a result of differences in cytokine, chemokine and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) dynamics. Therefore we applied collagen disks subcutaneously and on the epicardium in mice and analyzed the FBR from day 1 to 21. Both the influx of leukocytes and implant degradation were higher in supra-epicardially implanted collagen than in subcutaneously implanted material. This correlated with a higher gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and IL-6, and a lower expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Furthermore, the higher supra-epicardial expression of PMN attractants CXCL1/KC and CXCL2/MIP2 correlated with a higher and prolonged PMN influx. The gene expression levels of collagen degrading MMPs, i.e. MMP8, MMP13 and MMP14 were similar in subcutaneous and supra-epicardial disks. However, the activity of these enzymes was markedly higher supra-epicardially. In addition, the MMP9 expression was higher supra-epicardially, suggesting a role for this enzyme in the degradation process. In conclusion, a strong pro-inflammatory milieu is generated after supra-epicardial implantation that enables prolonged PMN presence and activation. This, together with the high supra-epicardial MMP9 level, could explain the observed difference in Col-I degradation between locations.