Fluid shear stress plays an important role in bone remodeling, however, the mechanism of mechanotransduction in bone tissue remains unclear. Recently, ERK5 has been found to be involved in multiple cellular processes. This study was designed to investigate the potential involvement of ERK5 in the proliferative response of osteoblastic cells to cyclic fluid shear stress. We reported here that cyclic fluid shear stress promoted ERK5 phosphorylation in MC3T3-E1 cells. Inhibition of ERK5 phosphorylation attenuated the increased expression of AP-1 and cyclin D1 and cell proliferation induced by cyclic fluid flow, but promoted p-16 expression. Further more, we found that cyclic fluid shear stress was a better stimuli for ERK5 activation and cyclin D1 expression compared with continuous fluid shear stress. Moreover, the pharmacological ERK5 inhibitor, BIX02189, which inhibited ERK5 phosphorylation in a time-dependent manner and the suppression lasted for at least 4 h. Taken together, we demonstrate that ERK5/AP-1/cyclin D1 pathway is involved in the mechanism of osteoblasts proliferation induced by cyclic fluid shear stress, which is superior in promoting cellular proliferation compared with continuous fluid shear stress.