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Nano Lett. 2011 Dec 14;11(12):5201-7. doi: 10.1021/nl202515a. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Minimizing oxidation and stable nanoscale dispersion improves the biocompatibility of graphene in the lung.

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1
Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States.

Abstract

To facilitate the proposed use of graphene and its derivative graphene oxide (GO) in widespread applications, we explored strategies that improve the biocompatibility of graphene nanomaterials in the lung. In particular, solutions of aggregated graphene, Pluronic dispersed graphene, and GO were administered directly into the lungs of mice. The introduction of GO resulted in severe and persistent lung injury. Furthermore, in cells GO increased the rate of mitochondrial respiration and the generation of reactive oxygen species, activating inflammatory and apoptotic pathways. In contrast, this toxicity was significantly reduced in the case of pristine graphene after liquid phase exfoliation and was further minimized when the unoxidized graphene was well-dispersed with the block copolymer Pluronic. Our results demonstrate that the covalent oxidation of graphene is a major contributor to its pulmonary toxicity and suggest that dispersion of pristine graphene in Pluronic provides a pathway for the safe handling and potential biomedical application of two-dimensional carbon nanomaterials.

PMID:
22023654
PMCID:
PMC3237757
DOI:
10.1021/nl202515a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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