Background: Previous work has identified mast cells as the major source of chymase largely associated with a profibrotic phenotype. We recently reported increased fibroblast autophagic procollagen degradation in a rat model of pure volume overload (VO). Here we demonstrate a connection between increased fibroblast chymase production and autophagic digestion of procollagen in the pure VO of aortocaval fistula (ACF) in the rat. Methods and results: Isolated LV fibroblasts taken from 4 and 12 week ACF Sprague-Dawley rats have significant increases in chymase mRNA and chymase activity. Increased intracellular chymase protein is documented by immunocytochemistry in the ACF fibroblasts compared to cells obtained from age-matched sham rats. To implicate VO as a stimulus for chymase production, we show that isolated adult rat LV fibroblasts subjected to 24 h of 20% cyclical stretch induces chymase mRNA and protein production. Exogenous chymase treatment of control isolated adult cardiac fibroblasts demonstrates that chymase is internalized through a dynamin-dependent mechanism. Chymase treatment leads to an increased formation of autophagic vacuoles, LC3-II production, autophagic flux, resulting in increased procollagen degradation. Chymase inhibitor treatment reduces cyclical stretch-induced autophagy in isolated cardiac fibroblasts, demonstrating chymase's role in autophagy induction. Conclusion: In a pure VO model, chymase produced in adult cardiac fibroblasts leads to autophagic degradation of newly synthesized intracellular procollagen I, suggesting a new role of chymase in extracellular matrix degradation.