Abstract Adipose tissue-derived stromal cells (ADSC) have previously been shown to possess stem cell properties such as transdifferentiation and self-renewal. Because future clinical applications are likely to use these adult stem cells in an autologous fashion, we wished to establish and characterize rat ADSC for pre-clinical tests. In the present study, we showed that rat ADSC expressed stem cell markers CD34 and STRO-1 at passage 1 but only STRO-1 at passage 3. These cells could also be induced to differentiate into adipocytes, smooth muscle cells, and neuron-like cells, the latter of which expressed neuronal markers S100, nestin, and NF70. Isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX), indomethacin (INDO), and insulin were the active ingredients in a previously established neural induction medium (NIM); however, here we showed that IBMX alone was as effective as NIM in the induction of morphological changes as well as neuronal marker expression. Finally, we showed that vascular smooth muscle cells could also be induced by either NIM or IBMX to differentiate into neuron-like cells that expressed NF70.