Steroids promote the myelination and regeneration in the peripheral nervous system. Whereas, little is known about the inducing effects by which the hormones exert their effects on Schwann cells differentiation. This could be revealed by the expression of Schwann cell markers in adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs). The purpose of this study was to present the effects of progesterone and 17 β-estradiol on the Schwann cell markers in rat ADSCs. The mesenchymal stem cell markers (CD73, and CD90) were assayed by flow cytometry. Rat ADSCs were sequentially treated with β-mercaptoethanol, and all-trans-retinoic acid, followed by a mixture of basic fibrobroblast growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, forskolin and heregulin. In experimental groups, forskolin and heregulin were substituted by progesterone and 17 β-estradiol. After induction, the expression of Schwann cell markers P0, and S-100 and the cellular immunocytochemical staining positive rate of anti-S100 and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) antibodies were compared in the experimental and control groups. Progesterone and 17 β-estradiol triggered P0 and S-100 genes expression and induced a cellular immunocytochemical staining positive rate of S-100 and GFAP in rats ADSCs. Progesterone induced these changes stronger than 17 β-estradiol. Thus, progesterone may induce rat ADSCs toward Schwann-like cells by expression of Schwann cell markers and is more potent than 17 β-estradiol in the expression of these markers.