Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) have high therapeutic value for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering due to their differentiation potential and non-immunogenic characteristics. They are also considered as an effective in vivo delivery agent because of their ability to migrate to the site of injury. A major roadblock in their use for cell-based therapies is their rareness in vivo. Therefore, it is important to obtain increased number of functional MSCs in vitro in order to have adequate numbers for therapeutic regiments. We aimed to investigate the role of estrogen and its mechanism in obtaining more MSCs. MSCs were isolated from female and ovariectomized rats and cultured in the presence and absence of 10(-7) M estrogen. In the presence of estrogen, not only their CFU-F activity increased but also apoptotic rate decreased as shown by TUNEL staining leading to obtain more MSCs. Also the number of the cells in the colonies increased upon estrogen treatment. To reveal the mechanism of this effect, we focused on Bcl-2 family of proteins. Our immunoblotting experiments combined with knockdown studies suggested a critical role for anti-apoptotic Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2. Estrogen treatment up regulated the expression Bcl-x(L) and Bcl-2. When we knocked down the expression of bcl-x (L) and bcl-2, MSCs lacking these genes showed an increase in the apoptotic rate in contrast to normal MSCs following estrogen treatment. Therefore, estrogen treatment will be of great advantage for cell-based therapies in order to get more functional MSCs and may provide opportunities to develop new strategies for debilitating diseases.