Increases in procollagen processing within skeletal muscle have previously been reported in small animal models only. While indirect measurements in humans have suggested an increase procollagen processing, no intra-skeletal muscle measurements have confirmed these findings. In this study, eight young healthy male subjects performed a single bout of unaccustomed high intensity eccentric exercise on one leg, with the contralateral leg being the control. A significant increase in the muscle interstitial concentration of the N-terminal propeptide of procollagen type I (PINP) was observed (day 0: 1.96 +/- 0.44 ng ml(-1), day 2: 1.94 +/- 0.32 ng ml(-1), day 4: 3.90 +/- 1.03 ng ml(-1), day 8: 7.23 +/- 2.34 ng ml(-1)*, *P <0.05 vs. basal and control) with no change being noted in the control leg. By day 2 post-exercise, an increase in the histological immunoreactivity of PINP and the N-terminal propeptide of procollagen type III (PIIINP) was also shown in the exercising leg only. Further, from day 2 post-exercise, immunoreactivity for tenascin C and reactive macrophages (CD68+ cells) was seen within the perimysial and endomysial connective tissue of the exercising leg only, indicating a high mechanical load and inflammation. This study shows that following a single bout of high intensity eccentric exercise there is an increase in procollagen processing within skeletal muscle in humans.