AIM OF THE STUDY: An alternative source of adult stem cells that could be obtained in large quantities, under local anesthesia, with minimal discomfort would be advantageous. Adipose tissue could be processed to obtain a fibroblast-like population of cells or adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ATSCs). This study was performed to confirm the availability of ATSCs in bone tissue engineering. MATERIALS & METHODS: In this study, adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cell was extracted from the liposuctioned abdominal fat of 24-old human and cultivated, and the stem cell surface markers of CD 105 and SCF-R were confirmed by immunofluorescent staining. The proliferation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell and ATSCs were compared, and evaluated the osteogenic differentiation of ATSCs in a specific osteogenic induction medium. Osteogenic differentiation was assessed by von Kossa and alkaline phosphatase staining. Expression of osteocyte specific BMP-2, ALP, Cbfa-1, Osteopontin and osteocalcin were confirmed by RT-PCR. With differentiation of ATSCs, calcium concentration was assayed, and osteocalcin was evaluated by ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay). The bone formation by 5-week implantation of HA/TCP block loaded with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and ATSCs in the subcutaneous pocket of nude mouse was evaluated by histologic analysis. RESULTS: ATSCs incubated in the osteogenic medium were stained positively for von Kossa and alkaline phosphatase staining. Expression of osteocyte specific genes was also detected. ATSCs could be easily identified through fluorescence microscopy, and bone formation in vivo was confirmed by using ATSC-loaded HA/TCP scaffold. CONCLUSIONS: The present results show that ATSCs have an ability to differentiate into osteoblasts and formed bone in vitro and in vivo. So ATSCs may be an ideal source for further experiments on stem cell biology and bone tissue engineering.