PURPOSE: Changes in the balance between MMP and TIMP can have a profound effect on the composition in the extracellular matrix (ECM) and affect various cellular functions including adhesion, migration, differentiation of cells, and fibrosis and invasion and metastasis of cancer cells. Radiation therapy is a popular treatment modality for benign and malignant tumor, but the study for radiation effect on MMP and TIMP is scarce. In the current study, we have examined the expression of TIMP in fibrosis-prone (C57BL/6) mice after radiation. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Adult female mice of 10~12 weeks were used. The whole body were irradiated using a Varian CL-4/100 with 2 and 10 Gy. Immunohistochemical staining was performed according to Avidin Biotin complex method and evaluated by observing high power field. For TIMP-1, TIMP-2 antibodies, reactivity was assessed in the parenchymal cell and in the stromal cell. The scale of staining was assessed by combining the quantitative and qualiative intensity of staining. RESULTS: TIMP-1 immunoreactivity did not change in lung. But, in liver, TIMP-1 immunoreactivity was localized in cytoplasm of hepatocyte and Kupffer cell. In kidney, TIMP-1 immunoreactivity was localized in cytoplasm of some tubular cell. Temporal variations were not seen. Dose-response relationship was not seen except kidney. TIMP-2 immunoreactivity in lung was a score (++) at 0 Gy and elevated to a score (+++) at 2 Gy. TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was a score (++) in liver at 0 Gy. TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was localized in cytoplasm of hepatocyte and Kupffer cell as same as patterns of TIMP-1 immunoreactivity. The TIMP-2 immunoreactivity in liver was elevated to (+++) at 2 Gy. Immunoreactivity to TIMP-2 in kidney was a score (+++) at 0 Gy and was not changed at 10 Gy. The score of TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was reduced to (++) at 2 Gy. TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was confined to tubules in kidney. Temporal variation of TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was irregular. Dose-response relationship of TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was not seen. CONCLUSIONS: Differences between intensity of expression of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in each organ was present. Expression of TIMP was localized to specific cell in each organ. Irradiation increased TIMP-1 immunoreactivity in the liver and the kidney. Irradiation increased TIMP-2 immunoreactivity in the lung. But, in the liver and the kidney, TIMP-2 expression to radiation was irregular. Temporal variation of TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was irregular. Dose-response relationship of TIMP-2 immunoreactivity was not seen. In the future, we expect that the study of immunohistochemical staining of longer period of postirradiation and quantitative analysis using western blotting and northern blotting could define the role of TIMP in the radiation induced tissue fibrosis.