Abstract Microtexture and chemistry of implant surfaces are important variables for modulating cellular responses. Surface chemistry and wettability are connected directly. While each of these surface properties can influence cell response, it is difficult to decouple their specific contributions. To address this problem, the aims of this study were to develop a surface wettability gradient with a specific chemistry without altering micron scale roughness and to investigate the role of surface wettability on osteoblast response. Microtextured sandblasted/acid-etched (SLA, Sa = 3.1 μm) titanium disks were treated with oxygen plasma to increase reactive oxygen density on the surface. At 0, 2, 6, 10, and 24 h after removing them from the plasma, the surfaces were coated with chitosan for 30 min, rinsed and dried. Modified SLA surfaces are denoted as SLA/h in air prior to coating. Surface characterization demonstrated that this process yielded differing wettability (SLA0 < SLA2 < SLA10 < SLA24) without modifying the micron scale features of the surface. Cell number was reduced in a wettability-dependent manner, except for the most water-wettable surface, SLA24. There was no difference in alkaline phosphatase activity with differing wettability. Increased wettability yielded increased osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin production, except on the SLA24 surfaces. mRNA for integrins α1, α2, α5, β1, and β3 was sensitive to surface wettability. However, surface wettability did not affect mRNA levels for integrin α3. Silencing β1 increased cell number with reduced osteocalcin and osteoprotegerin in a wettability-dependent manner. Surface wettability as a primary regulator enhanced osteoblast differentiation, but integrin expression and silencing β1 results indicate that surface wettability regulates osteoblast through differential integrin expression profiles than microtexture does. The results may indicate that both microtexture and wettability with a specific chemistry have important regulatory effects on osseointegration. Each property had different effects, which were mediated by different integrin receptors.