Abstract: Traditional hydrogels have shown sub-standard multifunctional, mechanical properties in biomedical field. Gold nanoparticles can provided an expanded array of nanostructured materials with exclusive biomedical properties. The nanocomposite hydrogels have expected to exhibit both nanomaterial and hydrogel properties, which may resulted in potential applications in biomedical field. Hence, the present investigation reported simple and greener approach to the preparation and properties of pH-responsive nanocomposite hydrogels (GIAE) based on itaconic acid (IA), acrylic acid, ethylene glycol and colloidal gold nanoparticles. The obtained nanocomposite hydrogels found to have desired exfoliated surface morphology and enhanced pH-sensitive swelling and thermal stability. It also showed appreciable anti-microbial properties due to presence of gold nanoparticles and IA. The cytotoxicity nature of itaconic acid based gold nanocomposite hydrogels were also developed ~ 90% due gold nanoparticles. Moreover, the degradation property of prepared nanocomposite hydrogels have been reduced due to bacterial inhibition tendency of gold nanoparticles. This work provides viewpoints to develop pH-tunable GIAE nanocomposite hydrogels with significant biological properties. The resultant nanocomposite hydrogels may be recommended for biomedical applications mere in future such as pH-sensitive drug delivery, scaffold for tissue engineering, wound healing application, antimicrobial material and nanomedicine etc. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.