BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Brain aging is a major risk factor for severe neurodegenerative diseases. Conversely, L-histidine and L-carnosine are known to exhibit neuroprotective effects. The aim of this study was to examine the potential for L-histidine, L-carnosine, and their combination to mediate anti-brain aging effects in neuronal cells subjected to D-galactose-induced aging. MATERIALS/METHODS: The neuroprotective potential of L-histidine, L-carnosine, and their combination was examined in a retinoic acid-induced neuronal differentiated SH-SY5Y cell line exposed to D-galactose (200 mM) for 48 h. Neuronal cell proliferation, differentiation, and expression of anti-oxidant enzymes and apoptosis markers were subsequently evaluated. RESULTS: Treatment with L-histidine (1 mM), L-carnosine (10 mM), or both for 48 h efficiently improved the proliferation, neurogenesis, and senescence of D-galactose-treated SH-SY5Y cells. In addition, protein expression levels of both neuronal markers (β tubulin-III and neurofilament heavy protein) and anti-oxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase-1 and superoxide dismutase-1 were up-regulated. Conversely, protein expression levels of amyloid β (1-42) and cleaved caspase-3 were down-regulated. Levels of mRNA for the pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin (IL)-8, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-α were also down-regulated. CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, we provide the first evidence that L-histidine, L-carnosine, and their combination mediate anti-aging effects in a neuronal cell line subjected to D-galactose-induced aging. These results suggest the potential benefits of L-histidine and L-carnosine as anti-brain aging agents and they support further research of these amino acid molecules.