Apoptosis plays a critical role in intestinal mucosal homeostasis. We previously showed that the bile salt taurodeoxycholate has a beneficial effect on the intestinal mucosa through an increase in resistance to apoptosis mediated by nuclear factor (NF)-κB. The current study further characterizes the effect of bile salts on intestinal epithelial cell susceptibility to apoptosis and determines if the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) regulates bile salt-induced resistance to apoptosis. Exposure of normal intestinal epithelial cells (IEC-6) to the conjugated bile salts taurodeoxycholate (TDCA) and taurochenodeoxycholate (TCDCA) resulted in an increase in resistance to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and cycloheximide (CHX)-induced apoptosis, and NF-κB activation. Treatment with TDCA and TCDCA resulted in an increase in XIAP expression. Specific inhibition of NF-κB by infection with an adenoviral vector that expresses the IκBα super-repressor (IκBSR) prevented the induction of XIAP expression and the bile salt-mediated resistance to apoptosis. Treatment with the specific XIAP inhibitor Smac also overcame this increase in enterocyte resistance to apoptosis. Bile salts inhibited formation of the active caspase-3 from its precursor procaspase-3. Smac prevented the inhibitory effect of bile salts on caspase-3 activation. These results indicate that bile salts increase intestinal epithelial cell resistance to apoptosis through NF-κB-mediated XIAP expression. Bile salt-induced XIAP mediates resistance to TNF-α/CHX-induced apoptosis, at least partially, through inhibition of caspase-3 activity. These data support an important beneficial role of bile salts in regulation of mucosal integrity. Decreased enterocyte exposure to luminal bile salts, as occurs during starvation and parenteral nutrition, may have a detrimental effect on mucosal integrity.