Apoptosis of intestinal epithelial cells (EC) plays a role in total parenteral nutrition (TPN)-induced villus atrophy. Among the mediators of apoptosis in EC are some members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Bcl-2 members can either be anti- (Bcl-2, Bcl-x L , Bcl-w) or pro-apoptotic (Bax, Bak, Bid, Bad, Bcl-x S ). To determine whether the observed increase in apoptosis induced by TPN is associated with an alteration in these Bcl-2 members' mRNA expression, mice were randomized to either TPN or oral feeding (controls). Animals were killed after 7 days and the intestine was harvested. EC were purified with magnetic beads. Apoptosis was detected by cell-surface expression of phosphatidylserine using flow cytometry. EC mRNA expression was determined by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Results were expressed relative to β-actin. TPN resulted in a significant ( P < 0.05, unpaired t -test) increase in apoptosis: TPN 29.4 ± 11.3% versus control 14.4 ± 5.1%. The expression of the pro-apoptotic members Bax, Bak, Bid, and Bcl-x S was significantly ( P < 0.05) decreased after TPN. In contrast, a significant increase was observed in the anti-apoptotic member Bcl-2. mRNA expression of Bcl-w, Bad, and Bcl-x L was not significantly different between the control and TPN groups. Thus TPN-induced apoptosis was associated with an increased expression of anti-apoptotic factors and a decrease in pro-apoptotic factors. This contrasts with other reports where these factors showed converse effects under apoptotic conditions. Our results may demonstrate a unique regulatory pathway that may counter the observed increase in TPN-induced EC apoptosis.