A number of studies have shown elevated matrix metalloproteinase expression in chronic wound fluid compared to an acute wound; however, little has been done to characterize animal models in a similar manner and thus determine their usefulness. The diabetes mouse is an animal model of type II diabetes that shows impaired dermal wound healing and has been proposed as a model of human impaired wound healing. In this study we have determined the mRNA and protein expression profiles of matrix metalloproteinases 2, 3, and 9 during the first 10 d of dermal healing for the diabetes mouse and its normally healing littermate. Additionally, human wound fluid from diabetic chronic wounds and acute surgical wounds were studied to enable a comparison of the model to the human condition. We show that during the early stages of wound healing the diabetes mouse possesses significantly reduced protein levels of pro-matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 within the wound tissue and active matrix metalloproteinase 3 within the fluid. Pro-matrix metalloproteinase 3 levels are also significantly reduced in the diabetes mouse during the later stages of healing. These differences may be contributing to the impaired healing of the diabetes mouse; however, they differ from the human data presented here, which show elevated matrix metalloproteinase 2 and reduced matrix metalloproteinase 9 in human diabetic chronic wound fluid compared to acute wound fluid. Therefore, although clearly showing the importance of appropriate matrix metalloproteinase regulation for normal acute wound healing to occur, the diabetes mouse may not be an ideal model for study of matrix metalloproteinase involvement in human chronic wound healing.