Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic, progressive, and irreversible degenerative joint disease. Conventional OA treatments often result in complications such as pain and limited activity. However, transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has several beneficial effects such as paracrine effects, anti-inflammatory activity, and immunomodulatory capacity. In addition, MSCs can be differentiated into several cell types, including chondrocytes, OPEN ACCESS Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16 14962 osteocytes, endothelia, and adipocytes. Thus, transplantation of MSCs is a suggested therapeutic tool for treatment of OA. However, transplanted naׯve MSCs can cause problems such as heterogeneous populations including differentiated MSCs and undifferentiated cells. To overcome this problem, new strategies for inducing differentiation of MSCs are needed. One possibility is the application of microRNA (miRNA) and small molecules, which regulate multiple molecular pathways and cellular processes such as differentiation. Here, we provide insight into possible strategies for cartilage regeneration by transplantation of differentiated MSCs to treat OA patients.