BACKGROUND/AIMS Blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have been proven to affect the growth of several types of cells. The effects of blue LEDs have not been tested on bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs), which are important for cell-based therapy in various medical fields. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effects of blue LED on the proliferation, apoptosis and osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs. METHODS BMSCs were irradiated with a blue LED light at 470 nm for 1 min, 5 min, 10 min, 30 min and 60 min or not irradiated. Cell proliferation was measured by performing cell counting and EdU staining assays. Cell apoptosis was detected by TUNEL staining. Osteogenic differentiation was evaluated by ALP and ARS staining. DCFH-DA staining and γ-H2A.X immunostaining were used to measure intracellular levels of ROS production and DNA damage. RESULTS Both cell counting and EdU staining assays showed that cell proliferation of BMSCs was significantly reduced upon blue LED irradiation. Furthermore, treatment of BMSCs with LED irradiation was followed by a remarkable increase in apoptosis, indicating that blue LED light induced toxic effects on BMSCs. Likewise, BMSC osteogenic differentiation was inhibited after exposure to blue LED irradiation. Further, blue LED irradiation was followed by the accumulation of ROS production and DNA damage. CONCLUSIONS Taken together, our study demonstrated that blue LED light inhibited cell proliferation, inhibited osteogenic differentiation, and induced apoptosis in BMSCs, which are associated with increased ROS production and DNA damage. These findings may provide important insights for the application of LEDs in future BMSC-based therapies.