Background: Tenascin-C (TN-C), an extracellular matrix glycoprotein, is crucial to cell-migration, proliferation, apoptosis and remodeling of tissues, with a potential role in pathobiology of pulmonary hypertension. Matrix metallopro-teinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) are crucial to the integrity of the extracellular matrix. TN-C and MMPs are counter-regulatory molecules, which influence the vascular integrity through modulations of elastin. We have a murine model of pulmonary hypoplasia with coexistent diaphragmatic hernia, vascular abnormalities and excessive arterial smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation. Objectives: Our objective was to investigate modulations of TN-C and MMPs in hypoplastic lungs and their possible contribution to the observed pulmonary vascular abnormalities. Methods: We addressed our objectives by pursing immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry and zymography/reverse zymography to assess the alterations in activities of MMPs and their inhibitors. Results: We observed significant down-regulation of MMP-9 activity in hypoplastic lungs at the later fetal developmental stages, whereas MMP-2 activity assessed by gelatin zymography remained unaltered. Reverse zymography revealed up-regulation of activities of TIMP-1, -2, -3 and -4 in hypoplastic lungs during later fetal development, with pronounced increases in TIMP-3 and -4 activities. Furthermore, immunoblot analyses and immunohistochemistry revealed that TN-C protein was down-regulated in developing hypoplastic lungs, compared to normal lungs. Conclusions: (1)TN-C is known to inhibit vascular SMC proliferation. But, decrease in TN-C in hypoplastic lungs may support the observed arterial SMC proliferation. (2) Our studies showed that in hypoplastic lungs the SMC apoptosis is not affected, thus suggesting that SMC proliferation and apoptosis may be two separate processes in pulmonary hypoplasia with coexistent diaphragmatic hernia. Together, our data showed an imbalance in the extracellular matrix proteins, which may contribute to the pulmonary vascular abnormalities.