Summary Boric acid solution (3%) dramatically improves wound healing through action on the extracellular matrix, a finding that has been obtained in vitro. Consequently, investigations are presently underway to produce boronated compounds having a therapeutical effectiveness similar to that of boric acid. On the basis of experimental results obtained with boric acid, we examined the effects of boron derivatives on extracellular matrix formation and degradation and analyzed their potential toxicity by using two biological models (chick embryo cartilage and human fibroblasts). The four boron derivatives tested in this study (triethanolamine borate; N-diethyl-phosphoramidate-propylboronique acid; 2,2 dimethylhexyl-1,3-propanediol-aminopropylboronate and 1,2 propanediol-aminopropylboronate) mimicked the effects of boric acid. They induced a decrease of intracellular concentrations in extracellular matrix macromolecules (proteoglycans, proteins)-associated with an increase of their release in culture medium and stimulated the activity of intra- and extracellular proteases. Similarly to boric acid, these actions occurred after exposure of the cells to concentrations of all boron derivatives without apparent toxic effects. The compounds were found to be more toxic than boric acid itself when concentrations were calculated according to their molecular weight. Nevertheless, these in vitro preliminary results demonstrate effects of boron derivatives that may be of therapeutic benefit in wound repair.