Bioactive glasses (BaGs) are widely utilised in bone tissue engineering (TE) but the molecular response of cells to BaGs is poorly understood. To elucidate the mechanisms of cell attachment to BaGs and BaG-induced early osteogenic differentiation, we cultured human adipose stem cells (hASCs) on discs of two silica-based BaGs S53P4 (23.0 Na2O - 20.0 CaO - 4.0 P2O5 - 53.0 SiO2 (wt-%)) and 1-06 (5.9 Na2O - 12.0 K2O - 5.3 MgO - 22.6 CaO - 4.0 P2O5 - 0.2 B2O3 - 50.0 SiO2) in the absence of osteogenic supplements. Both BaGs induced early osteogenic differentiation by increasing alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP) and the expression of osteogenic marker genes RUNX2a and OSTERIX. Based on ALP activity, the slower reacting 1-06 glass was a stronger osteoinducer. Regarding the cell attachment, cells cultured on BaGs had enhanced integrinβ1 and vinculin production, and mature focal adhesions were smaller but more dispersed than on cell culture plastic (polystyrene). Focal adhesion kinase (FAK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-induced c-Jun phosphorylations were upregulated by glass contact. Moreover, the BaG-stimulated osteoinduction was significantly reduced by FAK and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors, indicating an important role for FAK and MAPKs in the BaG-induced early osteogenic commitment of hASCs. Upon indirect insert culture, the ions released from the BaG discs could not reproduce the observed cellular changes, which highlighted the role of direct cell-BaG interactions in the osteopotential of BaGs. These findings gave valuable insight into the mechanism of BaG-induced osteogenic differentiation and therefore provided knowledge to aid the future design of new functional biomaterials to meet the increasing demand for clinical bone TE treatments.