We examined the effects of N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG), an endogenous peptide thought to be involved in neurotransmission and neuromodulation, on striatal quinolinate lesions, a rodent model of Huntington's disease. We found that NAAG (500 and 1000 nmol) co-injected with quinolinic acid significantly reduced lesion volumes (by 50% and 65%, respectively). A 1000 nmol dose of the non-hydrolyzable analogue, beta-NAAG, also reduced quinolinic acid lesion volumes by 78.4%, indicating that the protection observed was not secondary to cleavage of NAAG into N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and glutamate. Likewise, co-injection of both NAA and glutamate (1000 nmol each) with quinolinic acid did not significantly alter the size of lesions. NAAG's protective effect may be mediated through actions on N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors or metabotropic glutamate receptors.