The aim of this study was to explore the regulatory effects of cytokines, such as EGF and bFGF, on expression of the neural-specific molecules tau and MAP2 mRNA in mononuclear cells (MNCs) derived from human umbilical cord blood (UCB). Phenotypic changes were monitored by inverse phase-contrast microscopy. Tau and MAP2 mRNA were determined by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Tau and MAP2-positive cells were determined by immunocytochemistry. The expression of tau mRNA was negative in uncultured cells, but MAP2 mRNA was positive; in cultured cells, tau protein mRNA expression was positive, MAP2 mRNA expression was upregulated by EGF+bFGF, EGF and bFGF compared to the control group (no cytokines). EGF+bFGF had a greater effect on MAP2 mRNA expression than EGF or bFGF alone. The same upregulatory tendency was noted for tau mRNA expression. It is concluded that MNCs derived from human UCB cells may express some neural specific molecules that can be upregulated by cytokines, especially EGF and bFGF together.