Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM), poly(N-tert-butylacrylamide) (pNTBAM), and their copolymer brushes were covalently immobilized onto parylene C (PC) surfaces via surface initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Contact angle measurement between 13 and 40°C showed that the hydrophobicity of the modified PC surfaces was thermally sensitive. Among these samples, PC grafted with pNIPAM (PC-NI), PC grafted with pNTBAM (PC-NT) and PC grafted with copolymer brushes containing pNTBAM and pNIPAM (PC-NT-NI) exhibited the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) at 29, 22, and 24°C, respectively. Cytocompatibility study for the modified surfaces was performed by 5 days human skin fibroblast culture at 37°C. Data showed that only a very small amount of cells adhered on the PC and PC-NI surfaces, while a significantly higher amount of cell adhesion and growth was observed on PC-NT and PC-NT-NI surfaces. Furthermore, cell detachment at the temperatures of 24 and 6°C were studied after the substrates were cultured with cells at 37°C for 24 h. The results showed that the cells on PC-NI formed the aggregations and loosely attached on the substrate after 30-min culture at 24°C, while no significant cell detachment was observed for PC-NT and PC-NT-NI samples at this temperature. By continuing the cell culture for additional 100 min at 6°C for PC-NT and PC-NT-NI, about 10 and 35% of the cells were found detached respectively, and the unattached cells aggregated on the substrate. In comparison, cells cultured on the tissue culture petri dish (TCP) exhibited no quantity and morphology changes at the culture temperatures of 37, 24, and 6°C. This study showed that: (1) immobilization of PC with nonthermal sensitive pNTBAM could provide PC surface thermal sensitive hydrophilicity; (2) the chlorines on the polymer brushes of PC-NT could be used to further initiate the ATRP pNIPAM and form block copolymer brushes; (3) the incorporation of pNTBAM into pNIPAM on PC-NT-NI could change the surface thermal hydrophilicity property, and be further applied to decrease the LCST of the modified PC surface; (4) grafted pNIPAM brushes on PC-NI by ATRP showed very low cell adhesion and proliferation in 5 days fibroblast culture at 37°C, and cell detached at 24°C; (5) the incorporation of pNTBAM into pNIPAM on PC-NT-NI decreased the thermal sensitivity of cell adhesion/detachment, cell detached at 6°C, but the cell adhesion and proliferation were significantly improved at a wide temperature range. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2012.