This study aimed to determine the cellular aging of osteophyte-derived mesenchymal cells (oMSCs) in comparison to patient-matched bone marrow stromal cells (bMSCs). Extensive expansion of the cell cultures was performed and early and late passage cells (passages 4 and 9, respectively) were used to study signs of cellular aging, telomere length, telomerase activity, and cell-cycle-related gene expression. Our results showed that cellular aging was more prominent in bMSCs than in oMSCs, and that oMSCs had longer telomere length in late passages compared with bMSCs, although there was no significant difference in telomere lengths in the early passages in either cell type. Telomerase activity was detectable only in early passage oMSCs and not in bMSCs. In osteophyte tissues telomerase-positive cells were found to be located perivascularly and were Stro-1 positive. Fifteen cell-cycle regulator genes were investigated and only three genes (APC, CCND2, and BMP2) were differentially expressed between bMSC and oMSC. Our results indicate that oMSCs retain a level of telomerase activity in vitro, which may account for the relatively greater longevity of these cells, compared with bMSCs, by preventing replicative senescence. J. Cell. Biochem. 108: 839–850, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.