Erythropoietin (EPO) has been well recognized as a tissue protective agent by inhibiting apoptosis and inflammation. The tissue protective effect of EPO, however, only occurs at a high dosage, which may elicit severe side-effects at the meantime. Helix B surface peptide (HBSP), a novel peptide derived from the non-erythropoietic helix B of EPO, plays a specific role in tissue protection. We investigated effects of HBSP and the expression of its heterodimeric receptor, beta common receptor (βcR)/EPO receptor ( ), in a murine renal ischemia reperfusion (IR) injury model. HBSP significantly ameliorated renal dysfunction and tissue damage, decreased apoptotic cells in the kidney and reduced activation of caspase-9 and -3. The βcR/EPOR in the kidney was up-regulated by IR, but down-regulated by HBSP. Further investigation revealed that the expression and phosphorylation of Akt was dramatically enhanced by HBSP, but strongly reversed by wortmannin, the PI3K inhibitor. Wortmannin intervention improved βcR/EPOR expression, promoted caspase-9 and -3 activation, and increased active caspase-3 positive cells, while renal function and structure, and apoptotic cell counts scarcely changed. This result indicates a significant contribution of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in the renoprotection of HBSP. The therapeutic effects of HBSP in this study suggest that HBSP could be a better candidate for renal protection.