Alterations in both cell—cell and cell—matrix interactions are associated with the activation of endothelial cells that initiate angiogenesis. Cell—matrix interactions are affected by changes in both cell surface receptors for matrix proteins and the composition of ECM. One of the molecular mechanisms involved in changes in these components is the action of neutral proteinases, particularly matrix metalloproteinases. To understand the involvement of MMPs in angiogenic processes, the in vitro model of human umbilical vein endothelial cells in culture was used. Zymography and ELISA showed that, as cell—cell contact and network-like structures were formed, there was down regulation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 associated with high levels of their endogenous inhibitors TIMP-1 and TIMP-2. On treatment with aspirin, which inhibited the cell—cell contact and network-like structure formation, there was no down regulation of MMPs and cells continued to produce MMP-2 and MMP-9. These results indicate a temporal relationship between MMP-2 and MMP-9 production by endothelial cells and the onset of angiogenic event.