An in vivo rat model was developed to determine cell-polymer interactions under physiological conditions. Microporous tubular grafts, made of polytetraf luoroethylene, a polyetherurethane, a polyesterurethane and also a modified polyetherurethane were implanted intraperitoneally in rats. The grafts were filled with cultured rat smooth muscle cells prior to implantation. At t = 0, 2 and 48 h, the grafts were evaluated macroscopically and also prepared for light microscopy and for cell count of their contents. At t = 0 no cellular attachment was observed on the lumenal side of the capsules. At t = 2 h a monolayer of smooth muscle cells could be observed on all materials except PTFE, on which only small patches of cells were observed. At t = 48 h a multilayer of cells was seen on all materials except PTFE. Cell counts at 48 h demonstrated no multiplication in the PTFE graft but a 1.4, 2.3 and 2.0-fold multiplication in the polyetherurethane, polyesterurethane and the modified polyurethane grafts respectively. These in vivo results show a clear linear relationship with our in vitro results in which it has been proved that cell spreading increased with increasing substratum surface free energy. This rat model allows the study of cell-polymer interactions in vivo, in a standardized way, under controlled physiological conditions.