MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) with their versatile growth and differentiation potential are ideal candidates for use in regenerative medicine and are currently making their way into clinical trials, which requires the development of xeno-free protocols for their culture. In this study, MSCs were cultured in 10% FCS or 7.5% HPL (human platelet lysate)-supplemented media. We found that both groups of MSCs showed a comparable morphology, phenotype and proliferation. The percentage of cells in the S- and G2-/M-phases, however, was slightly up-regulated (P<0.01) in HPL group. HPL contains PDGF (platelet derived growth factor)-AB and IGF (insulin-like growth factor)-1. In addition, compared with FCS group, MSCs in HPL group showed an increase in osteogenic differentiation and a decrease in adipogenic differentiation. In conclusion, MSCs in HPL-supplemented media maintained similar growing potential and phenotype, while osteogenic potential was enhanced. HPL offers a promising alternative to FCS for MSC expansion for clinical application, especially in bone injury diseases.