PURPOSE. Endothelin (ET)-1 levels are increased in aqueous and vitreous humor in patients with glaucoma and animal models of glaucoma. Whether the elevated ET-1 induces extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling in the optic nerve head is still unknown. In the present study, the regulation of matrix metalloproteinases/tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs/TIMPs) and ECM remodeling in ET-1-activated human optic nerve head astrocytes (hONAs) were determined. METHODS. Primary hONAs were exposed to ET-1 for 1 day and 4 days. Incubation media were subjected to zymography and Western blot to detect activity and expression of MMPs and TIMPs. Fibronectin (FN) was monitored by Western blot and immunofluorescent staining. RESULTS. ET-1 increased the activity of MMP-2 and the expression of TIMP-1 and -2 in hONAs. The expression of TIMP-1 and -2 induced by ET-1 was abolished by application of inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) or PKC, leading to enhanced activity of MMP-2. Knockdown of MMP-2, by using small interfering (si)RNA, not only decreased the activity of MMP-2 but also decreased the expression of TIMP-1 and -2. ET-1 increased the soluble (s)FN expression as well as FN matrix formation. However, the accumulation of sFN did not enhance FN matrix formation. Unlike ET-1's effects on MMP-2, blockade of MAPK and PKC did not alter the expression and deposition pattern of FN in hONAs. CONCLUSIONS. ET-1 increased the expression and activity of MMP-2 and TIMP-1 and -2. The ERK-MAPK and PKC pathways are involved in the regulation of expression of MMP-2 and TIMP-1 and -2. ET-1's effects on MMPs/TIMPs may be important, not only in regulating the expression of MMPs and TIMPs, but also in influencing ECM remodeling.