Biological Interactions of Graphene-Family Nanomaterials: An Interdisciplinary Review

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University , Providence, Rhode Island 02912, United States.
Chemical Research in Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.53). 09/2011; 25(1):15-34. DOI: 10.1021/tx200339h
Source: PubMed


Graphene is a single-atom thick, two-dimensional sheet of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms isolated from its three-dimensional parent material, graphite. Related materials include few-layer-graphene (FLG), ultrathin graphite, graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and graphene nanosheets (GNS). This review proposes a systematic nomenclature for this set of Graphene-Family Nanomaterials (GFNs) and discusses specific materials properties relevant for biomolecular and cellular interactions. We discuss several unique modes of interaction between GFNs and nucleic acids, lipid bilayers, and conjugated small molecule drugs and dyes. Some GFNs are produced as dry powders using thermal exfoliation, and in these cases, inhalation is a likely route of human exposure. Some GFNs have aerodynamic sizes that can lead to inhalation and substantial deposition in the human respiratory tract, which may impair lung defense and clearance leading to the formation of granulomas and lung fibrosis. The limited literature on in vitro toxicity suggests that GFNs can be either benign or toxic to cells, and it is hypothesized that the biological response will vary across the material family depending on layer number, lateral size, stiffness, hydrophobicity, surface functionalization, and dose. Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in target cells is a potential mechanism for toxicity, although the extremely high hydrophobic surface area of some GFNs may also lead to significant interactions with membrane lipids leading to direct physical toxicity or adsorption of biological molecules leading to indirect toxicity. Limited in vivo studies demonstrate systemic biodistribution and biopersistence of GFNs following intravenous delivery. Similar to other smooth, continuous, biopersistent implants or foreign bodies, GFNs have the potential to induce foreign body tumors. Long-term adverse health impacts must be considered in the design of GFNs for drug delivery, tissue engineering, and fluorescence-based biomolecular sensing. Future research is needed to explore fundamental biological responses to GFNs including systematic assessment of the physical and chemical material properties related to toxicity. Complete materials characterization and mechanistic toxicity studies are essential for safer design and manufacturing of GFNs in order to optimize biological applications with minimal risks for environmental health and safety.

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    • "Graphene also shows great promise in tissue regeneration applications [42] [43]. Derived from graphite, it consists of a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice [44] [45]. Sayyar et al. has shown the incorporation of graphene increases both electrical conductivity and mechanical strength of PCL composites [34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cartilage as a tissue in the body possesses a low regenerative capacity and is extremely difficult to repair. Today, treatment of cartilage injury, degeneration and defects presents critical clinical challenges, yet none of the currently available cartilage treatments provides a perfect solution. Since natural cartilage extracellular matrix is a nanoscaled structure, the main objective of this study is to design a novel biomimetic nanostructured cartilage construct via electrospinning and carbon nanomaterials for enhancing human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell chondrogenic differentiation. For this purpose, we synthesized a carbon nanomaterial mixture, using a plasma arc discharge method, consisting of graphene nanoplatelets and single walled carbon nanotubes. This nanomaterial was then incorporated into electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) microfibrous scaffolds, with and without an additional poly-l-lysine surface coating. Scaffolds were thoroughly characterized for both their biomimetic features and biocompatibility. Our results showed that our scaffolds with carbon nanomaterial have greatly improved mechanical properties and enhanced stem cell adhesion, proliferation and chondrogenic differentiation than PCL controls without carbon nanomaterials, and thus hold promise for improving cartilage formation in future in vivo studies and clinical applications.
    Carbon 02/2016; 97:1-13. DOI:10.1016/j.carbon.2014.12.035 · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    • "Additionally, graphene may interact with proteins and nuclei acids, altering their structure and function [9]. On the other hand, graphene may generate ROS, which can also cause disruption of membrane lipids, proteins and nuclei acids [10]. Few studies are available on the impact of graphene on the microbial community. "
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    ABSTRACT: The increased application of graphene raises concerns about its environmental impact, but little information is available on the effect of graphene on the soil microbial community. This study evaluated the impact of graphene on the structure, abundance and function of the soil bacterial community based on quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), pyrosequencing and soil enzyme activities. The results show that the enzyme activities of dehydrogenase and fluorescein diacetate (FDA) esterase and the biomass of the bacterial populations were transiently promoted by the presence of graphene after 4 days of exposure, but these parameters recovered completely after 21 days. Pyrosequencing analysis suggested a significant shift in some bacterial populations after 4 days, and the shift became weaker or disappeared as the exposure time increased to 60 days. During the entire exposure process, the majority of bacterial phylotypes remained unaffected. Some bacterial populations involved in nitrogen biogeochemical cycles and the degradation of organic compounds can be affected by the presence of graphene. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Journal of hazardous materials 10/2015; 297. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2015.05.017 · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    • "e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / c a r b o n carbon based processes [27]. In this direction, the artificial locomotives have also been benefitted by the specialties of the carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibres, fullerene, and graphene surfaces which includes the higher electrical and thermal conductivities [28] [29], ease of functionalization [30], availability of the larger surface to volume ratio [31] and biocompatibility [32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: A versatile graphene coated glass microswimmer displayed directed motions under the influence of applied electric field, chemical potential gradient and external magnetic field. The directed chemical locomotion took place from the region of lower to higher pH with speed ∼13 body lengths per second due to asymmetric catalytic decomposition of dilute hydrogen peroxide across the motor surface. The negative surface potential of graphene coated motor developed an electrical double layer in an alkaline medium which in turn engendered electrophoretic mobility towards anode when the external electrostatic field was applied. Inclusion of sparsely populated ferromagnetic iron nanoparticles on the surface of the motor offered the magnetic remote control on the motion. The coupled in situ and external controls enabled the motor to develop complex motions in diverse open and confined environments. For example, the motor could approach, pick-up, tow, and release a heavy cargo inside microchannel. Remarkably, the motor (∼67 μg) could successfully drive out a ∼1000 times heavier payload (∼0.67 mg) displaying the ability to overcome the drag force of ∼2619 pN with the help of coupled in situ and remote guidance.
    Carbon 08/2015; 89. DOI:10.1016/j.carbon.2015.03.012 · 6.20 Impact Factor
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