Proteolytic activities of 5 strains of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis isolated from Brazilian and Colombian patients, presenting distinct clinical manifestations, were characterized and compared using whole-promastigote extracts and extracellular secretions. Zymographic assays concerning whole-cell extracts and supernatants resulted in the detection of high molecular weight bands, ranging from 50 to 125 kDa. Proteolytic activities from both whole-cell extracts and supernatants were optimal in a pH range 5·5 to 9·0 for all analysed strains. Such protease activities were inhibited when 10 mM 1,10-phenanthroline was assayed, strongly suggesting that the enzymes responsible for hydrolysis of the substrate belong to the metalloproteases class. Distinct profiles of metalloproteases were observed among the studied L. (V.) braziliensis strains. Differences among the microorganisms might be related to the geographical origin of the strains and/or to the clinical presentation.