The differentiation of pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells to mature osteoblasts is crucial for the maintenance of the adult skeleton. In rheumatic arthritis, osteoblast differentiation is impaired by the overproduction of cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)‑α. It has been demonstrated that TNF-α is able to inhibit osteoblast differentiation through the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling. As a result of the critical role of TNF-α and NF-κB in the pathogenesis of bone-loss associated diseases, these factors are regarded as key targets for the development of therapeutic agents. In the current study, the role of the NF-κB inhibitor gliotoxin (GTX) in the regulation of osteoblast differentiation was evaluated. The non-toxic GTX doses were determined to be ≤ 3 µg/ml. It was revealed that GTX was able to block TNF-α-induced inhibition of osteoblast differentiation, as indicated by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and ALP staining assays, as well as the expression levels of osteoblast-associated genes Col I, Ocn, Bsp, Runx2, Osx and ATF4. Additionally, it was identified that gliotoxin directly promoted bone morphogenetic protein-2-induced osteoblast differentiation. GTX was found to inhibit the accumulation of NF-κB protein p65 in the nucleus and reduce NF-κB transcriptional activity, suggesting that GTX potentiated osteoblast differentiation via the suppression of NF-κB signaling.