Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) found in the synovial fluid (SFMSCs) of the tempromandibular joint (TMJ) remain poorly understood. During TMJ arthrocentesis, we discovered that synovial fluid collected from some patients with TMJ disorders contained not only SFMSCs but also synovium fragments (SFs). In this study, we attempted to characterize both the SFMSCs and SF-derived cells (SFCs) in order to further understand the role of MSCs in the synovial fluid of the TMJ. The SFs were membranous and translucent and consisted of several cell layers, indicating that their origin was only from the intima. SFCs were obtained by digestion of the SFs and subsequently expanded in vitro. SFMSCs were enriched by centrifugation of the synovial fluid and expanded in vitro. SFCs and SFMSCs displayed a similar fibroblast-like, spindle-shaped morphology, and we observed that some SFMSCs grew out of small tissue masses in culture. Flow cytometric analysis showed that both groups of cells expressed similar surface markers, including CD90, CD44, CD105, and CD73. However, both were negative for Stro-1, CD146, CD45, CD34, CD11b, CD19, and HLA-DR. Immunofluorescent staining showed that both SFs and SFMSCs expressed vascular cell adhesion molecule 1. Both SFCs and SFMSCs could be induced to differentiate down osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic, and neurogenic lineages in vitro. Together, our results indicate that the intima is the most likely tissue origin of SFMSCs in the TMJ. Moreover, the SFs are composed of only intima and thus offer an improved source of synovium-derived MSCs compared to synovium specimens obtained by surgery, which contain both intima and subintima.