Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown. Disruptions of BBB continuity result in an influx of activated T cells and monocytes, and could contribute to lesion formation in the CNS. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) are enzymes implicated in BBB disruption, and in degradation of extracellular matrix proteins and myelin components. An imbalance in levels of MMP and tissue inhibitors of MMP (TIMP) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of MS. Since monocytes form a major cell population in acute MS lesions and may facilitate their entrance into the CNS by secretion of MMP, knowledge on MMP expression by blood monocytes could be useful to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of MS. In the present study, we examined the expression of MMP-1, -3, -7, -9, -14 and TIMP-1 mRNA by blood monocytes in patients with MS using in situ hybridization. Levels of MMP-1, -3, -7, -9 and of TIMP-1 mRNA expressing monocytes were elevated in MS compared to controls, while those of MMP-14 did not differ. We therefore conclude that MS is associated with elevated levels of MMP and TIMP expressing blood monocytes that may contribute to MS pathogenesis.