Transmembrane protein integrins play a key role in cell adhesion. Cell-biomaterial interactions are affected by integrin expression and conformation, which are actively controlled by cells. Although integrin structure and function have been studied in detail, quantitative analyses of integrin-mediated cell-biomaterial interactions are still scarce. Here, we have used atomic force spectroscopy to study how integrin distribution and activation (via intracellular mechanisms in living cells or by divalent cations) affect the interaction of human pluripotent stem cells (WA07) and human hepatocarcinoma cells (HepG2) with promising biomaterials-human recombinant laminin-521 (LN-521) and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Cell adhesion to LN-521-coated probes was remarkably influenced by cell viability, divalent cations, and integrin density in WA07 colonies, indicating that specific bonds between LN-521 and activated integrins play a significant role in the interactions between LN-521 and HepG2 and WA07 cells. In contrast, the interactions between CNF and cells were nonspecific and not influenced by cell viability or the presence of divalent cations. These results shed light on the underlying mechanisms of cell adhesion, with direct impact on cell culture and tissue engineering applications.