The combination of stem cell therapy and nanoparticles promises to enhance the effect of cellular therapies by using nanocarriers as drug delivery devices to guide the further differentiation or homing of stem cells. The impact of nanoparticles on primary cell types remains much more elusive as most groups study the nanoparticle–cell interaction in malignant cell lines. Here, we report on the influence of polymeric nanoparticles on human hematopoietic stem cells (hHSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). In this study we systematically investigated the influence of polymeric nanoparticles on the cell functionality and differentiation capacity of hHSCs and hMSCs to obtain a deeper knowledge of the interaction of stem cells and nanoparticles. As model systems of nanoparticles, two sets of either bioinert (polystyrene without carboxylic groups on the surface) or biodegradable (PLLA without magnetite) particles were analyzed. Flow cytometry and microscopy analysis showed high uptake rates and no toxicity for all four tested particles in hMSCs and hHSCs. During the differentiation process, the payload of particles per cell decreased. Th ... mehre PLLA–Fe particle showed a significant increase in the IL-8 release in hMSCs but not in hHSCs. We assume that this is due to an increase of free intracellular iron ions but obviously also depends on the cell type. For hHSCs and hMSCs, lineage differentiation into erythrocytes, granulocytes, and megakaryocytes or adipocytes, osteocytes and chondrocytes, was not influenced by the particles when analyzed with lineage specific cluster of differentiation markers. On the other hand qPCR analysis showed significant changes in the expression of some (but not all) investigated lineage markers for both primary cell types.