The expression and regulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) in neuroectodermal precursor cells is undocumented. We report the presence of MMP-2, but no MMP-9, and of all the four known TIMPs in neuroepithelial stem cells isolated from the human CNS. The expression of TIMP-1, TIMP-2 and TIMP-3 was unchanged following stem cells differentiation into neurons and glia. In contrast, while MMP-2 and TIMP-4 were localized to both stem and mature CNS cells, their levels of expression were substantially reduced in the latter. TIMP-4 showed a 23-fold reduction in media conditioned by differentiated cells compared with stem cell-conditioned media, reflecting a 6-fold decrease in mRNA expression. Interestingly, TIMP-4 also differed from the other TIMPs in that it was cell-associated in the stem cells, where this fraction remained unchanged upon differentiation. Hence, regulation of selective MMPs and TIMPs occurs during differentiation of human neural precursors suggesting that MMP-2 and TIMP-4 in particular may perform regulatory roles in the developing CNS.