Osteoblastic differentiation is an essential part of bone formation. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a water miscible solvent that is used extensively for receptor ligands in osteoblast studies. However, little is known about its effects on osteoblastogenic precursor cells. In this study, we have used a murine preosteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 cells to demonstrate that DMSO effectively induces osteoblastic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells via the activation of Runx2 and osterix and is dependent upon the protein kinase C (PKC) pathways. We further demonstrated that prolonged activation of PKC pathways is sufficient to induce osteoblastic differentiation, possibly via the activation of PKD/PKCmu.