Intramuscular adipose tissue (IMAT) formation is a hallmark of marbling in cattle. IMAT is considered to originate from skeletal muscle progenitor cells with adipogenic potential. However, the mechanism involved in IMAT formation from these progenitor cells in vivo remains unclear. In the present study, among the growth factors tested, which were known to be expressed in skeletal muscle, we found only basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) has a pro-adipogenic effect on skeletal muscle derived adipogenic progenitor clone, 2G11 cells. Pre-exposure of 2G11 cells to bFGF did not affect initial gene expressions of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP)β and C/EBPδ, while resulting in an enhancement of subsequent expressions of C/EBPα and proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) during adipogenesis, indicating that bFGF is acting on the transcriptional regulation of C/EBPα and PPARγ. In addition, the effect of bFGF is mediated via two types of FGF receptor (FGFR) isoforms: FGFR1 and FGFR2 IIIc, and both receptors are prerequisite for bFGF to express its pro-adipogenic effect. These results suggest that bFGF plays an important role as a key trigger of IMAT formation in vivo.