Several studies demonstrated that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reduces cisplatin mortality in mice. Microvesicles (MVs) released from MSCs were previously shown to favor renal repair in non lethal toxic and ischemic acute renal injury (AKI). In the present study we investigated the effects of MSC-derived MVs in SCID mice survival in lethal cisplatin-induced AKI. Moreover, we evaluated in vitro the effect of MVs on cisplatin-induced apoptosis of human renal tubular epithelial cells and the molecular mechanisms involved. Two different regimens of MV injection were used. The single administration of MVs ameliorated renal function and morphology, and improved survival but did not prevent chronic tubular injury and persistent increase in BUN and creatinine. Multiple injections of MVs further decreased mortality and at day 21 surviving mice showed normal histology and renal function. The mechanism of protection was mainly ascribed to an anti-apoptotic effect of MVs. In vitro studies demonstrated that MVs up-regulated in cisplatin-treated human tubular epithelial cells anti-apoptotic genes, such as Bcl-xL, Bcl2 and BIRC8 and down-regulated genes that have a central role in the execution-phase of cell apoptosis such as Casp1, Casp8 and LTA. In conclusion, MVs released from MSCs were found to exert a pro-survival effect on renal cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that MVs may contribute to renal protection conferred by MSCs.