Résumé : Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSC) are able to differentiate into cells of connective tissue lineages, including bone and cartilage. They are therefore considered as a promising tool for the treatment of bone degenerative diseases. One of the major issues in regenerative cell therapy is the biosafety of fetal bovine serum used for cell culture. Therefore, the development of a culture medium devoid of serum but preserving hBMSC viability will be of clinical value. The glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) has an anti-apoptotic action in insulin-producing cells. Interestingly, GIP also exerts beneficial effects on bone turnover by acting on osteoblasts and osteoclasts. We therefore evaluated the ability of GIP to prevent cell death in osteoblastic cells cultured in serum-free conditions. In hBMSC and SaOS-2 cells, activation of the GIP receptor increased intracellular cAMP levels. Serum deprivation induced apoptosis in SaOS-2 and hBMSC that was reduced by 30 and 50 %, respectively, in the presence of GIP. The protective effect of GIP involves activation of the adenylate cyclase pathway and inhibition of caspases 3/7 activation. These findings demonstrate that GIP exerts a protective action against apoptosis in hBMSC and suggest a novel approach to preserve viability of hBMSC cultured in the absence of serum.