This work describes the synthesis of hydrogels of cellulose acetate (AC) crosslinked with 1,2,4,5-benzenotetracarboxylic dianhydride (PMDA). The crosslinking reaction was monitored by FTIR. Analysis of aromatic fragments from the alkaline hydrolysis of the gels by UV spectroscopy indicated that an increase in the stoichiometric ratio of dianhydride resulted in higher degrees of crosslinking. The non-porous nature of the gels was confirmed by analysis of nitrogen adsorption. Water absorption isotherms showed that as the temperature and degree of crosslinking increased, the percentage of water absorbed at equilibrium (%Seq) also increased. The hydrogels presented second order swelling kinetics.