Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is a critical regulator of proliferation and migration for mesenchymal type cells. In this study, we examined the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases in the PDGF-BB-induced proliferation and migration of human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hATSCs). The PDGF-induced proliferation was prevented by a pretreatment with the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor, SP600125. However, it was not prevented by a pretreatment with a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, SB202190, and a specific inhibitor of the upstream kinase of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), U0126. Treatment with PDGF induced the activation of JNK and ERK in hATSCs, and pretreatment with SP600125 specifically inhibited the PDGF-induced activation of JNK. Treatment with PDGF induced the cell cycle transition from the G0/G1 phase to the S phase, the elevated expression of cyclin D1, and the phosphorylation of Rb, which were prevented by a pretreatment with SP600125. In addition, the PDGF-induced migration of hATSCs was completely blocked by a pretreatment with SP600125, but not with U0126 and SB202190. These results suggest that JNK protein kinase plays a key role in the PDGF-induced proliferation and migration of mesenchymal stem cells. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.