In this study, we have synthesized dextran hydrogels by the crosslinking reactions of dextran with some selective Cl-, and N-containing functional monomers, such as epichlorohydrin (ECH), N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide (MBAm), and glutaraldehyde (GA). Crosslinking reactions were carried out in the basic aqueous solutions (2.8N NaOH) at 25-50 degrees C. The optimum conditions for effective crosslinking, i.e., temperature, crosslinking time, and amount of crosslinker, were determined for each system. The hydrogel discs of 3 mm diameter and 1.5 mm thickness were subjected to a number of Tris-buffer solutions of desired pH (2.0-9.0) at 37 degrees C. Swelling kinetics of the hydrogels were evaluated with second-order swelling model. The pH-dependent swelling of hydrogels was strongly influenced by the functional group of crosslinker and crosslinker content. While the hydrogels prepared with ECH and MBAm shows higher swelling ability at basic medium than that of acidic medium, GA-containing hydrogels exhibited just the opposite behavior. Mesh sizes (xi) and average molecular weights between crosslinks (M-c) were estimated from swelling data using the Flory-Rehner theory. Characterization studies were completed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and thermal gravimetric analysis. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.