Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are multipotent and can be derived from different adult tissues including fat. Our repeated attempts to produce long-term proliferative cultures of rat abdominal adipose stem cells (aASCs) under normal oxygen concentration (21%) were unsuccessful. We set to examine the events controlling this cytostasis of aASCs and found that it resulted from overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that led to apoptosis. ROS overproduction in aASCs was accompanied by increased expression of NOX1 but not of NOX2 or NOX4. NOX family members are an important source of intracellular ROS pointing to NOX1 involvement in ROS accumulation. This was verified when aASCs that were grown under 3% oxygen conditions expanded long term, displaying reduced NOX1 expression and decreased ROS accumulation. NOX1 involvement in aASC cytostasis was reaffirmed when cells that were expanded under normoxic conditions in the presence of a specific NOX1 inhibitor, ML171, demonstrated reduced ROS accumulation, reduced apoptosis and long-term expansion. aASC expansion arrest was accompanied also by a weak fat differentiation and migratory potential, which was enhanced by NOX1 inhibition. This suggests an inhibitory role for NOX1-induced ROS overproduction on aASCs, their fat differentiation and migratory potential. In contrast to aASCs, similar cells produced from subcutaneous fat were easily expanded in normoxic cultures, exhibiting low ROS concentrations, a low number of apoptotic cells and improved fat differentiation and migration. Taken together, our results show, for the first time, that NOX1-induced ROS accumulation halts ASC expansion and reduces their differentiation and migratory potential under normoxic conditions. Importantly, this phenotype comprises a tissue-specific signature as it was evident in aASCs but not in subcutaneous ASCs. NOX-induced ROS accumulation and cytokine production by fat are part of the metabolic syndrome. The similarity of this phenomenon to aASC phenotype may indicate that they arise from similar molecular mechanisms.