It is well known that the cellular responses are related with both physical and chemical characteristics of substrate, including surface topography. In the present study，the effect of surface topography of hydroxyapatite (HA) on rat bone marrow cell (rBMCs) response was investigated. HA disc-shaped pellets with various topography were manufactured by single-axis pressing methods. The rBMCs responses on materials including cell morphology and proliferation were evaluated by SEM and MTT methods respectively, and the differentiation potential was assessed by total protein content and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity testing. The results showed that the cell porliferation was higher on HA surfaces with macropore structure, while ALP activity was lower. No significant difference in the cellular responses on the pore distribution and orietation was observed. However, the pore structure had a potential to guide cell orientation by gathering the cells inside the pores rather than on the ridges. Since ALP served as an indicator of early osteoblast differentiation, in this study its higher expression on HA surface with micropores suggested that surface microtopograhy exhibited an important effect on early osteoblast differentiation process.