The potential protective effect of the natural antioxidant, carnosine was evaluated against ischemia/reperfusion liver injury in rats. Ischemia was induced by clamping the pedicle supplying the left hepatic lobe for 60 min followed by reperfusion for 2 h. Untreated rats exposed to ischemia/reperfusion showed significant elevation of serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, and malondialdehyde level and caspase-3 activity in liver homogenates associated with significant reduction in hepatic nitrite level, catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities as compared with sham-operated group. Pre-treatment with a single i.p. dose of carnosine (250 mg/kg), 30 min prior to the ischemic episode significantly attenuated the deterioration in the measured biochemical parameters observed with ischemia/reperfusion-induced liver injury. Also, light and electron microscopic examinations in ischemia/reperfusion untreated group revealed severe hepatic damage, such as cytoplasmic vacuolation, necrotic and apoptotic cell death, which was markedly ameliorated by pre-ischemic treatment with carnosine. These results strongly emphasize that carnosine can be useful as a prophylactic treatment to protect the liver against hypoxia-reoxygenation damage.