Nano-hydroxyapatite (nano-HAP) may be a better candidate for an apatite substitute of bone in biomedical applications than micro-sized hydroxyapatite (m-HAP). However, size control is always difficult when synthesizing well-defined nano-HAP particles. In this study, nano-HAP particles with diameters of approximately 20nm (np20) and approximately 80nm (np80) were synthesized and characterized. The size effects of these nano-HAPs and m-HAP were studied on human osteoblast-like MG-63 cells in vitro. Our results demonstrate that both cell proliferation and cell apoptosis are related to the size of the HAP particles. Np20 has the best effect on promotion of cell growth and inhibition of cell apoptosis. This work provides an interesting view of the role of nano-HAPs as ideal biomedical materials in future clinical applications.