The direction of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation is regulated by stimulation with various growth factors and cytokines. We recently established MSC lines, [transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-responsive SG‑2 cells, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-responsive SG‑3 cells, and TGF-β/BMP-non-responsive SG‑5 cells], derived from the bone marrow of green fluorescent protein-transgenic mice. In this study, to compare gene expression profiles in these MSC lines, we used DNA microarray analysis to characterize the specific gene expression profiles observed in the TGF-β-responsive SG‑2 cells. Among the genes that were highly expressed in the SG‑2 cells, we focused on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 3 (VEGFR3), the gene product of FMS-like tyrosine kinase 4 (Flt4). We found that VEGF-C, a specific ligand of VEGFR3, significantly induced the cell proliferative activity, migratory ability (as shown by Transwell migration assay), as well as the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 in the SG‑2 cells. Additionally, VEGF-C significantly increased the expression of prospero homeobox 1 (Prox1) and lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (Lyve1), which are lymphatic endothelial cell markers, and decreased the expression of osteogenic differentiation marker genes in these cells. By contrast, TGF-β significantly increased the expression of early-phase osteogenic differentiation marker genes in the SG‑2 cells and markedly decreased the expression of lymphatic endothelial cell markers. The findings of our study strongly suggest the following: i) that VEGF-C promotes the proliferative activity and migratory ability of MSCs; and ii) VEGF-C and TGF-β reciprocally regulate MSC commitment to differentiation into lymphatic endothelial or osteoblastic phenotypes, respectively. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the regenerative ability of MSCs.