In this study, human adipose stem cells were isolated from subcutaneous fat in the thigh (htASCs), abdomen (haASCs) and breast (hbASCs). Flow cytometry was used to detect cell surface markers, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect paracrine activity. Paracrine gene expression in the three cell types was examined using real-time qPCR, and adipogenic ability was assessed using Oil Red O staining. RNA from third-passage haASCs and hbASCs was sequenced. The results showed that the differentiation potential marker markers CD49d and CD54 were similar across hbASCs from 10 subjects. The hbASCs showed higher colony forming ability and expression of fibroblast growth factor-2, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and stromal cell derived factor-1 than htASCs and haASCs. Stimulating hbASCs with FGF2 promoted adipogenic differentiation, while treating the cells with the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 inhibited differentiation. These results suggest that the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway can promote proliferation and adipogenic differentiation of adipose stem cells, and that activation of this pathway by FGF2 may explain why hbASCs show greater proliferation and adipogenic differentiation than haASCs and htASCs.