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Effective strategies to guide cell alignment and the deposition of an oriented extracellular matrix are critical for the development of anisotropic engineered tissues suitable for the repair of ligament defects. Electrospinning is a promising means to create meshes that can align adherent cells, but the effect of fiber mesh architecture on differentiation has not been examined closely. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the effect of fiber diameter and the degree of fiber alignment on mesenchymal progenitor cell morphology, proliferation, and ligament gene expression. Specifically, a poly(ester urethane)urea elastomer was electrospun onto rigid supports under conditions designed to independently vary the mean fiber diameter (from 0.28 to 2.3 microm) and the degree of fiber alignment. Bone marrow stromal cells--seeded onto supported meshes--adhered to and proliferated on all surfaces. Cells assumed a more spindle-shaped morphology with increasing fiber diameter and degree of fiber alignment, and oriented parallel to fibers on aligned meshes. Expression of the ligament markers collagen 1alpha1, decorin, and tenomodulin appeared to be sensitive to fiber diameter and greatest on the smallest fibers. Concurrently, expression of the transcription factor scleraxis appeared to decrease with increasing fiber alignment. These results suggest that the formation of a ligament-like tissue on electrospun scaffolds is enhanced when the scaffolds consist of aligned submicron fibers.