Oxidative stress is a major mediator of tissue and cell injuries. The injury in chronic nephrotic syndrome, acute renal failure, myeloma kidney injury and other kidney diseases is initiated by oxidative stress. We have previously demonstrated that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) acts as an antiproliferative agent in renal cancer cells. This study was designed to evaluate the renoprotective activity of VIP against H2O2-induced oxidative damage in a proximal tubule kidney cell line (human, non-tumor, HK2 cells) in order to investigate the potential usefulness of this peptide in the treatment of oxidative-stress related kidney diseases. HK2 cell viability was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay. Propidium iodide was used to identify cells undergoing apoptosis. Western blotting was performed with anti-Bcl-2, anti-Bax and anti-formyl peptide receptor (low-affinity variant FPRL-1) monoclonal antibodies whereas 2,7-dichlorofluorescein diacetate was used for measurement of levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). HK2 cells were injured with H2O2 in order to induce apoptosis: the effect was time- and dose-dependent. VIP increased the levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 and decreased those of the proapoptotic protein Bax. VIP decreased the intracellular ROS levels reached by H2O2-induced oxidative stress. VIP effect on ROS levels involved FPLR-1 but not VPAC1,2 receptors as evidenced by the use of the respective antagonists WRW4 and JV-1–53. Thus, VIP protects HK2 cells from apoptosis by increasing Bcl-2 levels and this effect is initiated through FPLR1 receptor. In conclusion, VIP might exert a renoprotective effect by the suppression of oxidative stress.