COMP (Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) is a matrix protein, which is currently studied as a potential serum marker for cartilage processes in osteoarthritis (OA). The influence of physical exercise on serum COMP is not fully elucidated. The objective of the present study was to monitor serum levels of COMP during a randomised controlled trial of physical exercise vs. standardised rest in individuals with symptomatic and radiographic knee OA.Blood samples were collected from 58 individuals at predefined time points before and after exercise or rest, one training group and one control group. The physical exercise consisted of a one-hour supervised session twice a week and daily home exercises. In a second supplementary study 7 individuals were subjected to the same exercise program and sampling of blood was performed at fixed intervals before, immediately after, 30 and 60 minutes after the exercise session and then with 60 minutes interval for another five hours after exercise to monitor the short-term changes of serum COMP. COMP was quantified with a sandwich-ELISA (AnaMar Medical, Lund, Sweden).Before exercise or rest no significant differences in COMP levels were seen between the groups. After 60 minutes exercise serum COMP levels increased (p < 0.001). After 60 minutes of rest the serum levels decreased (p = 0.003). Median serum COMP values in samples obtained prior to exercise or rest at baseline and after 24 weeks did not change between start and end of the study. In the second study serum COMP was increased immediately after exercise (p = 0.018) and had decreased to baseline levels after 30 minutes.Serum COMP levels increased during exercise in individuals with knee OA, whereas levels decreased during rest. The increased serum COMP levels were normalized 30 minutes after exercise session, therefore we suggest that samples of blood for analysis of serum COMP should be drawn after at least 30 minutes rest in a seated position. No increase was seen after a six-week exercise program indicating that any effect of individualized supervised exercise on cartilage turnover is transient.