Engineered osteogenic constructs for bone repair typically involve complex and costly processes for cell expansion. Adipose tissue includes mesenchymal precursors in large amounts, in principle allowing for an intraoperative production of osteogenic grafts and their immediate implantation. However, stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells from adipose tissue were reported to require a molecular trigger to differentiate into functional osteoblasts. The present study tested whether physiological doses of recombinant human BMP-2 (rhBMP-2) could induce freshly harvested human SVF cells to generate ectopic bone tissue. Enzymatically dissociated SVF cells from 7 healthy donors (1 x 10(6) or 4 x 10(6)) were immediately embedded in a fibrin gel with or without 250 ng rhBMP-2, mixed with porous silicated calcium-phosphate granules (Actifuse (R), Apatech) (final construct size: 0.1 cm(3)) and implanted ectopically for eight weeks in nude mice. In the presence of rhBMP-2, SVF cells not only supported but directly contributed to the formation of bone ossicles, which were not observed in control cell-free, rhBMP-2 loaded implants. In vitro analysis indicated that rhBMP-2 did not involve an increase in the percentage of SVF cells recruited to the osteogenic lineage, but rather induced a stimulation of the osteoblastic differentiation of the committed progenitors. These findings confirm the feasibility of generating fully osteogenic grafts using an easily accessible autologous cell source and low amounts of rhBMP-2, in a timing compatible with an intraoperative schedule. The study warrants further investigation at an orthotopic site of implantation, where the delivery of rhBMP-2 could be bypassed thanks to the properties of the local milieu.