Nanoporous anodized alumina membranes (AAMs) have numerous biomedical applications spanning from biosensors to controlled drug delivery and implant coatings. Although the use of AAM as an alternative bone implant surface has been successful, its potential as a neural implant coating remains unclear. Here, we introduce conductive and nerve growth factor-releasing AAM substrates that not only provide the native nanoporous morphology for cell adheSion, but also induce neural differentiation. We recently reported the fabrication of such conductive membranes by coating AAMs with a thin C layer. In this study, we investigated the influence of electrical stimulus, surface topography, and chemistry on cell adhesion, neurite extension, and density by using PC 12 pheochromocytoma cells in a custom-made glass microwell setup. The conductive AAMs showed enhanced neurite extension and generation with the electrical stimulus, but cell adhesion on these substrates was poorer compared to the naked AAMs. The latter nanoporous material presents chemical and topographical features for superior neuronal cell adhesion, but more importantly, when loaded with nerve growth factor, it can provide neurite extension similar to an electrically stimulated CAAM counterpart. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.