Use of soluble factors is the most common strategy to induce osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in vitro, but it may raise potential side effects in vivo. The topographies of the substrate surfaces affect cell behavior, and this could be a promising approach to guide stem cell differentiation. Micropillars have been reported to modulate cellular and subcellular shape, and it is particularly interesting to investigate whether these changes in cell morphology can modulate gene expression and lineage commitment without chemical induction. In this study, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) films were decorated with square prism micro pillars with different lateral dimensions (4, 8 and 16 mu m), and the surface wettability of the substrates was altered by oxygen plasma treatment. Both, pattern dimensions and hydrophilicity, were found to affect the attachment, proliferation, and most importantly, gene expression of human dental pulp mesenchymal stem cells (DPSCs). Decreasing the pillar width and interpillar spacing of the square prism pillars enhanced cell attachment, cell elongation, and deformation of nuclei, but reduced early proliferation rate. Surfaces with 4 or 8 mu m wide pillars/gaps upregulated the expression of early bone-marker genes and mineralization over 28 days of culture. Exposure to oxygen plasma increased wettability and promoted cell attachment and proliferation but delayed osteogenesis. Our findings showed that surface topography and chemistry are very useful tools in controlling cell behavior on substrates and they can also help create better implants. The most important finding is that hydrophobic micropillars on polymeric substrate surfaces can be exploited in inducing osteogenic differentiation of MSCs without any differentiation supplements.