In an attempt to increase the life of cementless prostheses, an hydroxyapatite-coated implant which releases a bisphosphonate has been suggested as a drug-delivery system. Our in vitro study was designed to determine the maximum dose to which osteoblasts could be safely exposed.Our findings demonstrated that zoledronate did not impair the proliferation of human osteoblasts when used at concentrations below 1 microm. Murine cells can be exposed to concentrations as high as 10 microm.A concentration of 0.01% of titanium particles did not impair the proliferation of either cell line. Zoledronate affected the alkaline phosphatase activity of murine osteoblasts through a chelation phenomenon. The presence of titanium particles strongly decreased the alkaline phosphatase activity of murine osteoblasts. We did not detect any synergic effect of zoledronate and titanium particles on the behaviour of both human and murine osteoblasts.