Silver-doped functionally graded hydroxyapatite (Ag-FGHA) coatings have been prepared on glass and titanium substrates by ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) method with in situ heat treatment, and the biological response and dissolution properties of the coatings have been examined. Three Ag-FGHA coatings with different percentages of silver (1, 3, and 6.6 wt % Ag) were compared with pure FGHA (without Ag) as a control. MC 3T3-E1 murine osteoblast cells were cultured on FGHA and Ag-FGHA coating surfaces, and the number of adhered cells after 1, 4, and 7 days was counted. Micromanipulation of live single cells was performed to quantitatively compare cell affinity among the four coating compositions. Results showed that FGHA-Ag1 coating (with 1 wt % Ag) had the highest number of adhered cells after each incubation period, as well as the highest cell affinity after 24-h incubation. Surface profilometry was performed to determine surface roughness average (Ra) of coating surfaces before and after immersion in high-purity water, showing that all surfaces initially had roughness averages below 200 nm, while after immersion, roughness average of FGHA-Ag1 surface was significantly increased (Ra = 404 +/− 100.8 nm), attributed to the highest rate of dissolution. Release rate of Ag+ ions in solution was measured, showing release rates of silver ions for all Ag-doped coatings were initially high and then gradually decreased to a minimum over time, which is the expected dissolution of functionally graded coatings. It is concluded that FGHA-Ag1 coating promoted the highest degree of osteoblast adhesion because of optimal dissolution rate and nontoxic Ag percentage. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A:, 2011.