In connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the matrix metalloproteinases are the primary enzymes involved in tissue degradation. Tissue inhibitor metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) is a specific inhibitor of these enzymes, which is thought to regulate their action in vivo. The structure and function of TIMP-1 may therefore be important as the basis for the rational design of therapeutic agents. This paper describes a simple and effective method for the purification of sufficient quantities of TIMP-1 for spectroscopic studies. Circular dichroism (CD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy have, together, showed TIMP-1 to be mostly in a beta-sheet conformation, with significant amounts of alpha-helix and beta-turn. Two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy indicated a correspondingly high proportion of beta-sheet. CD and FTIR have also shown TIMP-1 to have high thermostability.