Schwann cells (SCs) are the myelin forming cells in the peripheral nervous system, they play a key role in the pathology of various polyneuropathies and provide trophic support to axons via expression of various neurotrophic factors, such as nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Ethanol (EtOH) adversely affected both SCs proliferation and myelin formation in culture. Resveratrol (Res) has been shown to regulate many cellular processes and to display multiple protective and therapeutic effects. Whether Res has protective effects on SCs with EtOH-induced toxicity is still unclear. The protective efficacy of Res on EtOH-treated SCs in vitro was investigated in the present study. Res improved cell viability of the EtOH-treated SCs. Hoechst 33342 staining and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling analysis showed that the EtOH-induced apoptosis was inhibited by Res. The effects of Res were blocked by the 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase inhibitor Compound C and the silencing information regulator T1 inhibitor nicotinamide. Res could increase the mRNA and protein levels of BDNF and GDNF in the EtOH-treated SCs. However, the EtOH-induced increase of NGF in the SCs is inhibited by Res. The data from the present study indicate that Res protects SCs from EtOH-induced cell death and regulates the expression of neurotrophic factors. Res and its derivative may be effective for the treatment of neuropathic diseases induced by EtOH.