Cytotoxicity Effects of Graphene and Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes in Neural Phaeochromocytoma-Derived PC12 Cells

Neurochemistry Laboratory, Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration, 3900 NCTR Road, Jefferson, Arkansas 72079, USA.
ACS Nano (Impact Factor: 12.03). 06/2010; 4(6):3181-6. DOI: 10.1021/nn1007176
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Graphitic nanomaterials such as graphene layers (G) and single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) are potential candidates in a large number of biomedical applications. However, little is known about the effects of these nanomaterials on biological systems. Here we show that the shape of these materials is directly related to their induced cellular toxicity. Both G and SWCNT induce cytotoxic effects, and these effects are concentration- and shape-dependent. Interestingly, at low concentrations, G induced stronger metabolic activity than SWCNT, a trend that reversed at higher concentrations. Lactate dehydrogenase levels were found to be significantly higher for SWCNT as compared to the G samples. Moreover, reactive oxygen species were generated in a concentration- and time-dependent manner after exposure to G, indicating an oxidative stress mechanism. Furthermore, time-dependent caspase 3 activation after exposure to G (10 microg/mL) shows evidence of apoptosis. Altogether these studies suggest different biological activities of the graphitic nanomaterials, with the shape playing a primary role.