Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) play a crucial role in DNA damage surveillance through their nick sensor functions. Since PARPs' over activation leads to an excessive consumption of NAD(+) and ATP depletion, these enzymes also are involved in the early events of programmed cell death as well as in necrosis. In order to verify the protective action of L: -carnosine and trehalose against NO induced cell death, in the present study we examined their effects on the expression of PARP-1, PARP-2 and iNOS in primary rat astrocyte and oligodendrocyte cells, treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon gamma (INFγ), through semi-quantitative PCR and western analysis. To further characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying L-carnosine and trehalose action, we measured cell viability, nitrite production and LDH release. The data obtained clearly demonstrate that in the stress model employed L-carnosine and trehalose down regulate PARP-1 and PARP-2 expression in both cell phenotypes, thus suggesting their possible application in clinical trials.