AbstractMagnesium‐based implants exhibit several advantages, such as biodegradability and possible osteoinductive properties. Whether the degradation may induce cell type‐specific changes in metabolism still remains unclear. To examine the osteoinductivity mechanisms, the reaction of bone‐derived cells (MG63, U2OS, SaoS2, and primary human osteoblasts (OB)) to magnesium (Mg) was determined. Mg‐based extracts were used to mimic more realistic Mg degradation conditions. Moreover, the influence of cells having direct contact with the degrading Mg metal was investigated. In exposure to extracts and in direct contact, the cells decreased pH and osmolality due to metabolic activity. Proliferating cells showed no significant reaction to extracts, whereas differentiating cells were negatively influenced. In contrast to extract exposure, where cell size increased, in direct contact to magnesium, cell size was stable or even decreased. The amount of focal adhesions decreased over time on all materials. Genes involved in bone formation were significantly upregulated, especially for primary human osteoblasts. Some osteoinductive indicators were observed for OB: (i) an increased cell count after extract addition indicated a higher proliferation potential; (ii) increased cell sizes after extract supplementation in combination with augmented adhesion behavior of these cells suggest an early switch to differentiation; and (iii) bone‐inducing gene expression patterns were determined for all analyzed conditions. The results from the cell lines were inhomogeneous and showed no specific stimulus of Mg. The comparison of the different cell types showed that primary cells of the investigated tissue should be used as an in vitro model if Mg is analyzed.