The involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3 (PI 3)-kinase in the signalling pathways leading to MMP-9 expression in glioma cells remains unclear. Here, we report that PI 3-kinase inhibits MMP-9 expression induced by either IL-1 or TNF-alpha in rat C6 glioma cells. Using zymography and semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis, we showed that treatment of C6 cells with wortmannin, an inhibitor of PI 3-kinase activity, potentiated the expression of MMP-9 induced by both cytokines. In contrast, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), an inducer of PI 3-kinase activity in C6 cells, inhibited IL-1- or TNF-alpha-induced MMP-9 secretion. Accordingly, this inhibition by PDGF was prevented by wortmannin. Furthermore, stable C6 clones over-expressing the dominant-negative form the regulatory subunit of PI 3-kinase potentiated the expression of MMP-9 induced by IL-1 or TNF-alpha. Taken together, these results suggest that PI 3-kinase may act as a negative regulator of MMP-9 expression in C6 glioma cells.