In this study, the aim was to produce tissue-engineered bone using osteoblasts and a novel matrix material, poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid-co-3-hydroxyvaleric acid) (PHBV). In order to prepare a porous PHBV matrix with uniform pore size, sucrose crystals were loaded in the foam and then leached leaving pores behind. The surface of the PHBV matrix was treated with rf-oxygen plasma to increase the surface hydrophilicity. SEM examination of the PHBV matrices was carried out. Stability of PHBV foams in aqueous media was studied. The pH decrease is an indication of the degradation extent. The weight and density were unchanged for a period of 120 days but then a significant decrease was observed for the rest of the study. Osteoblast cells were then isolated from rat bone marrow and seeded onto PHBV matrices. The metabolization and proliferation on the foams was determined with MTS assay which showed that osteoblasts proliferated on PHBV. It was also found that cells proliferated better on large pore size foams (300-500 mum) than on the small pore size foams (75-300 mum). Production of ALP was measured spectrophotometrically. The present study demonstrated that PHBV matrices are suitable substrates for osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. (C) 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers.