High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) protect pancreatic beta-cells against apoptosis. This property might relate to the increased risk to develop diabetes in patients with low HDL blood levels. However, the mechanisms by which HDLs protect beta-cells are poorly characterized. Here we used a transcriptomic approach to identify genes differentially modulated by HDLs in beta-cells subjected to apoptotic stimuli. The transcript encoding 4E-binding protein (4E-BP)1 was up-regulated by serum starvation, and HDLs blocked this increase. 4E-BP1 inhibits cap-dependent translation in its non- or hypophosphorylated state but it loses this ability when hyperphosphorylated. At the protein level, 4E-BP1 was also up-regulated in response to starvation and IL-1beta, and this was blunted by HDLs. Whereas an ectopic increase of 4E-BP1 expression induced beta-cell death, silencing 4E-BP1 increase with short hairpin RNAs inhibited the apoptotic-inducing capacities of starvation. HDLs can therefore protect beta-cells by blocking 4E-BP1 protein expression, but this is not the sole protective mechanism activated by HDLs. Indeed, HDLs blocked apoptosis induced by endoplasmic reticulum stress with no associated decrease in total 4E-BP1 induction. Although, HDLs favored the phosphorylation, and hence the inactivation of 4E-BP1 in these conditions, this appeared not to be required for HDL protection. Our results indicate that HDLs can protect beta-cells through modulation of 4E-BP1 depending on the type of stress stimuli.