Originally identified as axonal guidance cues, semaphorins are expressed throughout many different tissues and regulate numerous non-neuronal processes. We demonstrate that most class III semaphorins are expressed in mouse osteoblasts and are differentially regulated by cell growth and differentiation: Sema3d expression is increased and Sema3e expression decreased during proliferation in culture, while expression of Sema3a is unaffected by cell density but increases in cultures of mineralizing osteoblasts. Expression of Sema3a, -3e, and -3d is also differentially regulated by osteogenic stimuli; inhibition of GSK3ß decreased expression of Sema3a and -3e, while 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) increased expression of Sema3e. Parathyroid hormone had no effect on expression of Sema3a, -3b, or -3d. Osteoblasts, macrophages, and osteoclasts express the Sema3e receptor PlexinD1, suggesting an autocrine and paracrine role for Sema3e. No effects of recombinant Sema3e on osteoblast proliferation, differentiation, or mineralization were observed; but Sema3e did inhibit the migration of osteoblasts in a wound-healing assay. The formation of multinucleated, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive osteoclasts was decreased by 81% in cultures of mouse bone marrow macrophages incubated with 200 ng/mL Sema3e. Correspondingly, decreased expression of osteoclast markers (Itgb3, Acp5, Cd51, Nfatc1, CalcR, and Ctsk) was observed by qPCR in macrophage cultures differentiated in the presence of Sema3e. Our results demonstrate that class III semaphorins are expressed by osteoblasts and differentially regulated by differentiation, mineralization, and osteogenic stimuli. Sema3e is a novel inhibitor of osteoclast formation in vitro and may play a role in maintaining local bone homeostasis, potentially acting as a coupling factor between osteoclasts and osteoblasts.