Aim Renal fibrosis is a common cause of renal dysfunction with chronic kidney diseases. This process is characterized by excessive production of extracellular matrix (ECM) or inhibition of ECM degradation. A disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) proteinases, which are widely presented in mammals, have very critical roles in ECM remodelling. We aimed to study the role of ADAMTS proteinases and some of the ECM markers in the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis and to investigate the effects of hypoxia on these biomarkers. Methods In addition to the control group, Adriamycin (ADR) treated rats were divided into four groups as ADR, sham and two hypoxia groups. Renal nephropathy was assessed biochemical assays, pathological and immunohistochemical staining methods. The expression of ADAMTSs and mRNA were determined using Western blotting and real-time PCR, respectively. Results Renal dysfuntion and tissue damage in favour of ECM accumulation and renal fibrosis were observed in the ADR group. This was approved by remarkable changes in the expression of ADAMTS such as increased ADAMTS-1, -12 and -15. In addition, it was found that hypoxia and duration of hypoxia enhanced markers of tubulointerstitial fibrosis in the rat kidney tissues. Also, expression differences especially in ADAMTS-1, -6 and -15 were observed in the hypoxia groups. The variable and different expression patterns of ADAMTS proteinases in the ADR-induced renal fibrosis suggest that ADAMTS family members are involved in the development and progression of fibrosis. Conclusion The expression changes of ADAMTS proteinases in kidney and association with hypoxia have potential clues to contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment options of renal fibrosis.