Accurate channel state information (CSI) is required for coherent detection in time-variant multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communication systems using orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) modulation. One of low-complexity and stable adaptive channel estimation (ACE) approaches is the normalized least mean square (NLMS)-based ACE. However, it cannot exploit the inherent sparsity of MIMO channel which is characterized by a few dominant channel taps. In this paper, we propose two adaptive sparse channel estimation (ASCE) methods to take advantage of such sparse structure information for time-variant MIMO-OFDM systems. Unlike traditional NLMS-based method, two proposed methods are implemented by introducing sparse penalties to the cost function of NLMS algorithm. Computer simulations confirm obvious performance advantages of the proposed ASCEs over the traditional ACE.