Thyroid eye disease (TED) affects 25-50% of patients with Graves' Disease. In TED, collagen accumulation leads to an expansion of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which causes destructive tissue remodeling. The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic potential of activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) to limit ECM accumulation in vitro. The ability of AHR to control expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP1) was analyzed. MMP1 degrades collagen to prevent excessive ECM. Human orbital fibroblasts (OFs) were treated with the pro-scarring cytokine, transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) to induce collagen production. The AHR ligand, 6-formylindolo[3,2b]carbazole (FICZ) was used to activate the AHR pathway in OFs. MMP1 protein and mRNA levels were analyzed by immunosorbent assay, Western blotting and quantitative PCR. MMP1 activity was detected using collagen zymography. AHR and its transcriptional binding partner, ARNT were depleted using siRNA to determine their role in activating expression of MMP1. FICZ induced MMP1 mRNA, protein expression and activity. MMP1 expression led to a reduction in collagen 1A1 levels. Furthermore, FICZ-induced MMP1 expression required both AHR and ARNT, demonstrating that the AHR-ARNT transcriptional complex is necessary for expression of MMP1 in OFs. These data show that activation of the AHR by FICZ increases MMP1 expression while leading to a decrease in collagen levels. Taken together, these studies suggest that AHR activation could be a promising target to block excessive collagen accumulation and destructive tissue remodeling that occurs in fibrotic diseases such as TED.