Hernia formation is associated with alterations of collagen metabolism. Collagen synthesis and degradation cause a systemic release of products, which are measurable in serum. Recently, we reported changes in type V and IV collagen metabolisms in patients with inguinal and incisional hernia. The aim of this study was to determine if the altered collagen metabolism was persistent after hernia repair.

Patients who had undergone repairs for inguinal hernia (n = 11) or for incisional hernia (n = 17) were included in this study. Patients who had undergone elective cholecystectomy served as controls (n = 10). Whole venous blood was collected 35-55 months after operation. Biomarkers for type V collagen synthesis (Pro-C5) and degradation (C5M) and those for type IV collagen synthesis (P4NP) and degradation (C4M2) were measured by a solid-phase competitive assay.

The turnover of type V collagen (Pro-C5/C5M) was slightly higher postoperatively when compared to preoperatively in the inguinal hernia group (P = 0.034). In addition, the results revealed a postoperatively lower type V collagen turnover level in the inguinal hernia group compared to controls (P = 0.012). In the incisional hernia group, the type V collagen turnover was higher after hernia repair (P = 0.004) and the postoperative turnover level was not different from the control group (P = 0.973).

Patients with an inguinal hernia demonstrated a systemic and persistent type V collagen turnover alteration. This imbalance of the collagen metabolism may be involved in the development of inguinal hernias.