Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is the most commonly prescribed drug in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is suggested that in vivo, methylphenidate treatment supports cortical maturation, however, the molecular and cellular mechanisms are not well understood. This study aimed to explore the potential effect of methylphenidate on cell proliferation and maturation in various cellular models, hypothesizing its interaction with the Wnt-signaling. The termination of cell proliferation concomitant to neuronal maturation following methylphenidate treatment was observed in all of the cell-models tested: murine neural stem-, rat PC12- and the human SH-SY5Y-cells. Inhibition of Wnt-signaling in SH-SY5Y cells with Dkk1 30 min before methylphenidate treatment suppressed neuronal differentiation but enhanced proliferation. The possible involvement of the dopamine-transporter in cell differentiation was discounted following the observation of opposing results after GBR-12909 treatment. Moreover, Wnt-activation via methylphenidate was confirmed in Wnt-luciferase-reporter assay. These findings reveal a new mechanism of action of methylphenidate that might explain long-term effects.