Silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1), an NAD+-dependent deacetylase, is involved in the regulation of gene transcription, energy metabolism, and cellular aging and has become an important therapeutic target across a range of diseases. Recent research has demonstrated that SIRT1 possesses neuroprotective effects; however, it is unknown whether it protects neurons from NMDA-mediated neurotoxicity. In the present study, by activation of SIRT1 using resveratrol (RSV) in cultured cortical neurons or by overexpression of SIRT1 in SH-SY5Y cell, we aimed to evaluate the roles of SIRT1 in NMDA-induced excitotoxicity. Our results showed that RSV or overexpression of SIRT1 elicited inhibitory effects on NMDA-induced excitotoxicity including a decrease in cell viability, an increase in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, and a decrease in the number of living cells as measured by CCK-8 assay, LDH test, and Calcein-AM and PI double staining. RSV or overexpression of SIRT1 significantly improved SIRT1 deacetylase activity in the excitotoxicity model. Further study suggests that overexpression of SIRT1 partly suppressed an NMDA-induced increase in p53 acetylation. These results indicate that SIRT1 activation by either RSV or overexpression of SIRT1 can exert neuroprotective effects partly by inhibiting p53 acetylation in NMDA-induced neurotoxicity.