The methionine sulfoxide reductase (Msr) system has been shown to play an important role in protecting cells against oxidative damage. This family of enzymes can repair damage to proteins resulting from the oxidation of methionine residues to methionine sulfoxide, caused by reactive oxygen species. Previous genetic studies in animals have shown that increased levels of methionine sulfoxide reductase enzyme A (MsrA), an important member of the Msr family, can protect cells against oxidative damage and increase life span. A high-throughput screening (HTS) compatible assay has been developed to search for both activators and inhibitors of MsrA. The assay involves a coupled reaction in which the oxidation of NADPH is measured by either spectrophotometric or fluorometric analysis. Previous studies had shown that MsrA has a broad substrate specificity and can reduce a variety of methyl sulfoxide compounds, including dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). Since the chemicals in the screening library are dissolved in DMSO, which would compete with any of the standard substrates used for the determination of MsrA activity, an assay has been developed that uses the DMSO that is the solvent for the compounds in the library as the substrate for the MsrA enzyme. A specific activator of MsrA could have important therapeutic value for diseases that involve oxidative damage, especially age-related diseases, whereas a specific inhibitor of MsrA would have value for a variety of research studies.