We have found that the adhesion and proliferation of endothelial cells can be drastically improved when cultivated on an ion-implanted polymer surface. When the surface of segmented polyurethane, where endothelial cells are not capable of proliferating, is modified by Ne+ or Na+ ion implantation with a fluence of 1 x 10(15) ions/cm2 at an energy of 150 keV, cell adhesion and proliferation occurred selectively on the ion-implanted region irrespective of the ion species. The cells did not proliferate at ion fluences below 1 x 10(14) ions/cm2. Most cells migrated into the ion-implanted domain within 1-2 h, but some of the cells attached outside of the region and then slowly migrated into the region. Ion implantation of polystyrene, on which cells are capable of proliferating, further promoted cell spreading and proliferation, and increased resistance to detachment when the cells were exposed to trypsin.