Exenatide (Ex-4) is a novel anti-diabetic drug that stimulates insulin secretion and enhances β-cell mass, but the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. We found that Ex-4 protects INS-1 β-cells against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis (TUNEL) and also reduces expression (mRNA and protein) of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP), a pro-apoptotic factor involved in β-cell glucose toxicity and oxidative stress. This reduction was observed in INS-1 cells, mouse, and human islets as well as in wild-type mice receiving Ex-4 and was accompanied by decreased expression of the apoptotic factors caspase-3 and Bax. To determine whether Ex-4-mediated TXNIP reduction is critical for this inhibition of apoptosis, we stably overexpressed TXNIP in INS-1 cells, which completely blunted the anti-apoptotic Ex-4 effects. Thus, Ex-4 inhibits apoptosis by reducing TXNIP expression and early initiation of Ex-4 treatment may help preserve endogenous β-cell mass, protect against oxidative stress, and delay type 2 diabetes progression. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.