Titanium and hydroxyapatite are used for the fabrication of dental and orthopedic implants. The longevity of these implants depends on the amount and rate of bone formation that occurs around their surfaces. In the present study, the effects of titanium, hydroxyapatite, and polystyrene (control) on the proliferation of rat calvarial cells, and on their capacity to express alkaline phosphatase and respond to parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulation, were studied. The nature of the substrate did not affect the DNA and protein contents of experimental and control cultures throughout the experimental period. Alkaline phosphatase expression and PTH response, as assessed by DNA synthesis and adenylate cyclase activity, were higher in cultures grown on hydroxyapatite and polystyrene than in those grown on titanium. These results indicate that hydroxyapatite was a more favorable substrate than titanium for the growth and differentiation of osteoblast-like cells in vitro.