Upon reactivation, varicella zoster virus (VZV) spreads transaxonally, infects cerebral arteries and causes ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, as well as aneurysms. The mechanism(s) of VZV-induced aneurysm formation is unknown. However, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which digest extracellular structural proteins in the artery wall, play a role in cerebral and aortic artery aneurysm formation and rupture. Here, we examined the effect of VZV infection on expression of MMP-1, -2, -3, and -9 in primary human brain vascular adventitial fibroblasts (BRAFS). At 6 days post-infection, VZV- and mock-infected BRAFs were analyzed for mRNA levels of MMP-1, -2, -3 and -9 by RT-PCR and for corresponding total intra- and extracellular protein levels by multiplex ELISA. The activity of MMP-1 was also measured in a substrate cleavage assay. Compared to mock-infected BRAFs, MMP-1, MMP-3 and MMP-9 transcripts, cell lysate protein and conditioned supernatant protein were all increased in VZV-infected BRAFs, whereas MMP-2 transcripts, cell lysate protein and conditioned supernatant protein were decreased. MMP-1 from the conditioned supernatant of VZV-infected BRAFs showed increased cleavage activity on an MMP-1-specific substrate compared to mock-infected BRAFs. Differential regulation of MMPs in VZV-infected BRAFs may contribute to aneurysm formation in VZV vasculopathy.