A naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan such as chondroitin-6-sulfate was first converted in to its aldehyde derivative by periodate oxidation and used as a cross-linking agent for gelatin giving rise to a new class of hydrogels. Cross-linking was predominantly due to Schiff's base formation between the epsilon-amino groups of lysine or hydroxylysine side groups of gelatin and the aldehyde groups in oxidized chondroitin sulfate. The hydrogels were prepared from chondroitin sulfate with different degrees of oxidation and gelatin. They were characterized for degree of cross-linking, cross-linking density, equilibrium swelling, water vapor transmission rate, internal structure, and blood-compatibility. Degree of cross-linking of the gels determined by trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid assay showed that, the higher the degree of oxidation of the polysaccharide, the higher the degree of cross-linking. Examination of the internal structure by scanning electron microscopy showed that the hydrogels were highly porous in nature with interconnecting pores ranging from 50 to 200 mum. Equilibrium swelling showed that the gels retained about 90% water and did not undergo dehydration rapidly. The hydrogels were nontoxic and blood-compatible. Since an important phase of early wound healing has been shown to involve secretion of glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin sulfate by fibroblasts which form a hydrophilic matrix suitable for remodeling during healing, this new class of hydrogels prepared from chondroitin sulfate and gelatin without employing any extraneous cross-linking agents are expected to have potential as wound dressing materials.