We tested the hypothesis that nonspecific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibition with doxycycline would decrease the incidence of intracranial aneurysm formation in a rat aneurysm model. We performed common carotid artery ligation on 96 Long-Evans rats. A treatment group of 48 animals was chosen at random to receive oral doxycycline (3 mg/kg) in addition to standard rat chow, and the control group of 48 animals received standard rat chow only. The major circle of Willis arteries was dissected at 1 year following carotid ligation, and the proportions of animals with aneurysms were compared between groups using Fisher's exact test. Four animals given oral doxycycline and ten control animals expired before 1 year. Of the examined animals, eight saccular intracranial aneurysms were found in 8 of 45 animals which had received doxycycline (17.8%) and seven saccular intracranial aneurysms were found in 7 of 37 control animals (18.9%). There was no significant difference in aneurysm formation between the doxycycline-treated and control groups (P=0.894). Nonspecific MMP inhibition with doxycycline is not effective in preventing intracranial aneurysm formation in a rat model.