Résumé : In this work, interpenetrated polymer networks (IPN) composed of alginate-Ca2+ and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), PNIPAAm, were synthesized and their water uptake capability was measured at temperatures from 25 to 40°C and compared to that of pure alginate-Ca2+ hydrogels without PNIPAAm. A sharp decrease of WU was observed when IPN hydrogels are heated above 32-33°C. The phenomenon is associated to a drastic shrinking of hydrogels. At temperatures above 32°C the PNIPAAm chains collapse, contracting their network and pulling back the alginate-Ca2+ network. The rate of shrinking depends of the heating rate. The phenomenon is more effective and faster in IPN containing lower amount of alginate-Ca2+. The shrunken IPN hydrogels can be re-swollen but the expansion is slower than the shrinking. The diffusion of Orange II dye through the membrane of IPN hydrogels decreases if the temperature is raised up to 35°C. The shrinking results in a decrease of the average pores size that makes more difficult the diffusion of Orange II. The average pore size was evaluated in several stages by analysis of SEM micrographs of freeze dried samples: 102.0±14.3 μm at 25°C, 15.7±5.4 μm at 33°C and 0.4±0.3 μm at 40°C. Below the LCST of PNIPAAm, the IPN hydrogels exhibit a morphology characterized by open pores but above the LCST their surface becomes more regular and compact. As a consequence, an increase of the apparent activation energy for permeability, Ep#, of Orange II is measured. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.