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Chem Res Toxicol. 2014 Feb 17;27(2):159-68. doi: 10.1021/tx400385x. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Nanotoxicity of graphene and graphene oxide.

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Exact and Earth Sciences Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo , Diadema, São Paulo, Brazil.


Graphene and its derivatives are promising candidates for important biomedical applications because of their versatility. The prospective use of graphene-based materials in a biological context requires a detailed comprehension of the toxicity of these materials. Moreover, due to the expanding applications of nanotechnology, human and environmental exposures to graphene-based nanomaterials are likely to increase in the future. Because of the potential risk factors associated with the manufacture and use of graphene-related materials, the number of nanotoxicological studies of these compounds has been increasing rapidly in the past decade. These studies have researched the effects of the nanostructural/biological interactions on different organizational levels of the living system, from biomolecules to animals. This review discusses recent results based on in vitro and in vivo cytotoxicity and genotoxicity studies of graphene-related materials and critically examines the methodologies employed to evaluate their toxicities. The environmental impact from the manipulation and application of graphene materials is also reported and discussed. Finally, this review presents mechanistic aspects of graphene toxicity in biological systems. More detailed studies aiming to investigate the toxicity of graphene-based materials and to properly associate the biological phenomenon with their chemical, structural, and morphological variations that result from several synthetic and processing possibilities are needed. Knowledge about graphene-based materials could ensure the safe application of this versatile material. Consequently, the focus of this review is to provide a source of inspiration for new nanotoxicological approaches for graphene-based materials.

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