Our aim in this study was to investigate the effect of moderate acute alcohol administration on cysteine protease mediated neuronal apoptosis and nitric oxide production in the traumatic brain injury. A total of 29 adult Sprague-Dawley male rats weighing 250-300 g were used. The rats were allocated into four groups. The first group was the control (sham-operated) group in which only a craniotomy was performed, the others were alcohol, trauma and trauma + alcohol groups. Caspase-3 enzyme activity in the trauma group increased significantly in comparison with the control group. The alcohol given group showed a decreased caspase-3 enzyme activity compared to the trauma group. The level of caspase-3 enzyme activity in the alcohol + trauma group decreased in comparison to the trauma group. SF/EEL ratio of cathepsin-L enzyme activity in the trauma group was significantly higher than in the control group. Our results indicate that moderate alcohol consumption may have protective effects on apoptotic cell death after traumatic brain injury. Protective effects of moderate ethanol consumption might be related to inhibition of lysosomal protease release and nitric oxide production. Published by Elsevier B.V.