Both nonswellable and swellable poly(EGDMA/HEMA) microbeads were produced by suspension copolymerization. These microbeads were modified by immobilization of a spacer-arm (hexamethylene diamine, HMDA) and collagen. The optimal values for modifications were as follows: sodium periodate concentration: 0.467 x 10(-2) mmol/mL; HMDA concentration: 3.5 x 10(-2) mmol/mL; and glutaraldehyde concentration: 0.70 x 10(-6) mmol/mL. Adsorption of collagen onto plain and periodate oxidized poly(EGDMA/HEMA) microbeads were similar, 0.25 and 0.50 mg collagen/g polymer, respectively. Collagen immobilization on poly(EGDMA/HEMA) microbeads was studied at various temperatures, times, and pH by using protein solution containing various amounts of proteins. The optimal values for immobilizations were as follows: the initial collagen concentration: 0.25 mg/mL; temperature: 4 degrees C; pH 7; and the immobilization time; 120 min. Both fibroblastic 3T3 and epithelial MDBK cells were attached to these unmodified and modified microbeads. The attachments of 3T3 and MDBK cells, especially to the collagen immobilized swellable microbeads were very high. Almost 96% of the 3T3 cells available in the cell culture medium became attached to these microbeads (2297 +/- 122 cells per mg of polymer). There was no significant effect by swelling on cell attachment.