This study demonstrates that a prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor, FG-0041, is able, in combination with the ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, to initiate differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into neuron-like cells. FG-0041/Y-27632 co-treatment provokes morphological changes into neuron-like cells, increases neuronal marker expression and provokes modifications of cell cycle-related gene expression consistent with a cell cycle arrest of MSC, three events showing the engagement of MSC towards the neuronal lineage. Moreover, as we observed in our previous studies with cobalt chloride and desferroxamine, the activation of HIF-1 by this prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor is potentiated by Y-27632 which could explain at least in part the effect of this co-treatment on MSC neuronal differentiation. In addition, we show that this co-treatment enhances neurite outgrowth and tyrosine hydroxylase expression in PC12 cells. Altogether, these results evidence that concomitant inhibition of prolyl hydroxylases and ROCK represents a relevant protocol to initiate neuronal differentiation.