Noggin is a glycosylated-secreted protein known so far for its inhibitory effects on bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling by sequestering the BMP ligand. We report here for the first time a novel mechanism by which noggin directly induces adipogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells independently of major human adipogenic signals through C/EBPδ, C/EBPα and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ. Evaluation of a possible mechanism for noggin-induced adipogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells identified the role of Pax-1 in mediating such differentiation. The relevance of elevated noggin levels in obesity was confirmed in a preclinical, immunocompetent mouse model of spontaneous obesity and in human patients with higher body mass index. These data clearly provide a novel role for noggin in inducing adipogenesis and possibly obesity and further indicates the potential of noggin as a therapeutic target to control obesity. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.