Gangliosides are complex glycosphingolipids that are the major component of cytoplasmic cell membranes, and play a role in the control of biological processes. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have received considerable attention as alternative sources of adult stem cells because of their potential to differentiate into multiple cell lineages. In this study, we focus on various functional roles of gangliosides in the differentiation of hMSCs into osteoblasts or neuronal cells. A relationship between gangliosides and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation during osteoblastic differentiation of hMSCs was observed, and the gangliosides may play a major role in the regulation of the differentiation. The roles of gangliosides in osteoblast differentiation are dependent on the origin of hMSCs. The reduction of ganglioside biosynthesis inhibited the neuronal differentiation of hMSCs during an early stage of the differentiation process, and the ganglioside expression can be used as a marker for the identification of neuronal differentiation from hMSCs.