Organosulphur compounds from garlic, especially diallyl disulphide (DADS) at non-toxic concentrations, affected production and secretion of some matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), one of their inhibitors, by human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Addition of DADS to the culture medium resulted in a concentration-dependent reduction of secreted MMP-2 protein and activity as well as TIMP-1 protein. In the presence of inducers (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, forskolin and tumor necrosis factor α) addition of DADS caused a distinct concentration-dependent decrease of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 secretion, while not affecting MMP-9 mRNA levels. Intracellular protein levels remained low and were not affected. Other organosulphur compounds like allyl mercaptan and S-allylcysteine showed no or less clear effects on MMP-secretion or TIMP-1-secretion. These results suggest that DADS may mediate some of the biological effects ascribed to garlic preparations through affecting MMP-TIMP balance.