The present study investigated whether osteoblasts could attach to a culture substratum through a surface texture-dependent mechanism. Four test groups were used: (A) untextured, and three texture groups with maximum feature sizes of (B) <0.5 microm, (C) 2 microm, and (D) 4 microm, respectively. All surfaces were coated with the nonadhesive protein bovine serum albumin (BSA). Osteoblasts were allowed to adhere in serum-free medium for either 1 or 4 h, at which time nonadherent cells were removed. At 4 h, untextured surface A exhibited no cell attachment, while textured surfaces B, C, and D exhibited 9%, 32%, and 16% cell adhesion, respectively. At 16 h of incubation, adherent osteoblasts on textured surface C exhibited focal adhesion contacts and microfilament stress-fiber bundles. These results indicate that microtextured surfaces in the absence of exogenous adhesive proteins can facilitate osteoblast adhesion.