As life expectancy increases worldwide, age-related neurodegenerative diseases will increase in parallel. The lack of effective treatment strategies may soon lead to an unprecedented health, social and economic crisis. Any attempt to halt the progression of these diseases requires a thorough knowledge of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved to facilitate the identification of new targets and the application of innovative therapeutic strategies. The metzincin superfamily of metalloproteinases includes matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), a disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) and ADAM with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS). These multigenic and multifunctional proteinase families regulate the functions of an increasing number of signalling and scaffolding molecules involved in neuroinflammation, blood-brain barrier disruption, protein misfolding, synaptic dysfunction or neuronal death. Metalloproteinases and their physiological inhibitors, the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), are therefore, at the crossroads of molecular and cellular mechanisms that support neurodegenerative processes, and emerge as potential new therapeutic targets. We provide an overview of current knowledge on the role and regulation of metalloproteinases and TIMPs in four major neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington's disease.