Current prosthetic small diameter vascular grafts show poor long-term patency rates, leading to the pursuit of a biological alternative. Hyaff-11 is a hyaluronan-based biodegradable polymer developed for tissue-engineering applications. This study aimed to determine whether human vascular endothelial cells attach to Hyaff-11 scaffolds and produce a subendothelial matrix. Two forms of fibrous, non-woven Hyaff-11 scaffolds: unpressed and pressed felts, were analysed. Attachment of human venous endothelial cells was investigated after 1, 5, 10 and 20 days in culture using SEM and confocal microscopy. The deposition of subendothelial matrix components was investigated by immunofluorescent staining. We demonstrate that endothelial cells adhere to the individual fibres of both unpressed and pressed scaffolds: with a seeding density of 1×106cells/cm2, 94% of the cells attached to Hyaff-11 fibres after 24h. The pressed material provided the best environment for cell growth, allowing the formation of a complete endothelial monolayer after 20 days. Furthermore, endothelial cells on Hyaff-11 pressed felts deposited an organised subendothelial matrix containing laminin, fibronectin, type IV and type VIII collagen. This work indicates Hyaff-11 based biopolymers as suitable scaffolds to promote endothelialisation within the next generation of vascular grafts. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd.