Sodium butyrate (NaBu) can increase the specific Mab production rate of hybridomas by enhancing histone hyperacetylation and influencing the cell cycle, but it can also inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis. Thus, the beneficial effect of NaBu on Mab secretion is compromised by its cytotoxic effect. In the present study, expression of the anti-apoptotic protein human Bcl-XLwas made inducible in hybridoma H18 to overcome the cytotoxic effect of NaBu, circumventing the detrimental effects of constitutive high-level expression. We constructed an expression vector in which the promoter of a mammalian metallothionein (MT) gene drove the expression of bcl-XLin response to metal exposure. The vector was then used to exogenously control the expression of bcl-XLin H18 hybridoma cells. Our data showed that stably transfected H18.D4 cells expressed high levels of Bcl-XL, which was induced within 24 h of addition of ZnSO4. NaBu (0.4 mM) increased antibody production by more than 3-fold in H18.D4. This effect resulted from the suppression of NaBu-induced apoptosis, allowing the H18.D4 cells to grow at higher viability and extending culture longevity by >3 days.