The pathways involved in the maintenance of human embryonic stem (hES) cells remain largely unknown, although some signaling pathways have been identified in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells. Fibroblast feeder layers are used to maintain the undifferentiated growth of hES cells and an examination of the conditioned media (CM) of human neonatal fibroblasts (HNFs) could provide insights into the maintenance of hES cells. The neonatal foreskin fibroblast line (HNF02) used in this study was shown to have a normal 2n = 46, XY chromosomal complement and to support the undifferentiated growth of the Embryonic Stem Cell International Pte. Ltd.-hES3 cell line. The CM of HNF02 was examined using two-dimensional liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (2-D LCMS) and two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) followed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight tandem mass spectrometry (2-DE/MALDI). A total of 102 proteins were identified, 19 by 2-DE/MALDI, 53 by 2-D LCMS and 30 by both techniques. These proteins were classified into 15 functional groups. Proteins identified in the extracellular matrix and differentiation and growth factor functional categories were considered most likely to be involved in the maintenance of hES cell growth, differentiation and pluripotency as these groups contained proteins involved in a variety of events including cell adhesion, cell proliferation and inhibition of cell proliferation, Wnt signaling and inhibition of bone morphogenetic proteins.