Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and progressive aging-associated disease of unknown etiology. A growing body of evidence indicates that aberrant activated alveolar epithelial cells induce the expansion and activation of the fibroblast population, leading to the destruction of the lung architecture. Some matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are upregulated in IPF, indicating that they may be important in the pathogenesis and/or progression of IPF. In the present study, we examined the expression of MMP28 in this disease and evaluated its functional effects in two alveolar epithelial cell lines and in human primary bronchial epithelial cells. We found that the enzyme is expressed in bronchial (apical and cytoplasmic localization) and alveolar (cytoplasmic and nuclear localization) epithelial cells in two different groups of patients with IPF. In vitro MMP28 epithelial silencing decreased the proliferation rate and delayed wound closing, whereas overexpression showed opposite effects, protecting from apoptosis and enhanced epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our findings demonstrate that MMP28is upregulated in epithelial cells from IPF lungs, where it may play a role in increasing the proliferative and migratory phenotype in a catalysis-dependent manner.