For the clinical application of cultured human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), cells must have minimal contact with fetal calf serum (FCS) because it might be a potential vector for contamination by adventitious agents. The use of human plasma and serum for clinical applications also continues to give rise to considerable concerns with respect to the transmission of known and unknown human infectious agents. With the objective of clinical applications of cultured human MSCs, we tested the ability of autologous plasma, AB human serum, FCS, and artificial serum substitutes containing animal-derived proteins (Ultroser G) or vegetable-derived proteins (Prolifix S6) to permit their growth and differentiation in vitro. To conserve as much autologous plasma as possible, we attempted to mix it at decreasing concentrations with the serum substitute containing vegetable-derived mitogenic factors. Under control conditions, by day 10 all the fibroblast colony-forming units (CFU-Fs) were alkaline phosphatase (ALP) positive. However, their number and size were highly variable among donors. Better CFU-F formation was obtained with Ultroser G, and with human AB serum and autologous plasma mixed at, respectively, 5 and 1 \% with Prolifix S6. The effects of these mixtures on CFU-F formation demonstrate synergy, with the human serum or plasma supplying the factors that favor differentiation of MSCs while Prolifix S6 supplies the mitogenic factors. Finally, we demonstrated the possibility of controlling human MSC growth and differentiation in vitro. Notably, by means of a minimal quantity of human serum or human plasma mixed with a new serum substitute containing vegetable-derived proteins, we displayed growth and differentiation of human MSCs comparable to that obtained with FCS or serum substitutes containing animal-derived proteins. These results will have crucial significance for future applications of cultured human MSCs in bone tissue engineering.