The in vitro model Ostrea edulis hemocyte - Bonamia ostreae is interesting to investigate host-parasite interactions at the cellular level. Indeed, this unicellular parasite infects the flat oyster Ostrea edulis and multiplies within hemocytes, the central effectors of oyster defenses. Apoptosis is a mechanism used by many organisms to eliminate infected cells. In order to study the potential involvement of this mechanism in the oyster response to B. ostreae, in vitro experiments were carried out by exposing hemocytes from the naturally susceptible oyster O. edulis and a resistant oyster species Crassostrea gigas to live and heat-inactivated parasites. Hemocyte apoptotic response was measured using a combination of flow cytometry and microscopy analyses. Whatever the host species was, the parasite was engulfed in hemocytes and induced an increase of apoptotic parameters including intracytoplasmic calcium concentration, mitochondrial membrane potential or phosphatidyl-serine externalization as well as ultrastructural modifications. However, the parasite appears more able to infect flat oyster than cupped oyster hemocytes and the apoptotic response was more important against live than dead parasites in the natural host than in C. gigas. Our results suggest that O. edulis specifically responds to B. ostreae by inducing apoptosis of hemocytes.