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Biocompatibility of Graphene Oxide

Kan Wang, Jing Ruan, Hua Song, Jiali Zhang, Yan Wo, Shouwu Guo* and Daxiang Cui*

Author affiliations

National Key Laboratory of Nano/Micro Fabrication Technology, Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication of Ministry of Education, Institute of Micro-Nano Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, 200240, People's Republic of China

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Res Lett 2011, 6:8  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9751-6

Published: 21 August 2010


Herein, we report the effects of graphene oxides on human fibroblast cells and mice with the aim of investigating graphene oxides' biocompatibility. The graphene oxides were prepared by the modified Hummers method and characterized by high-resolution transmission electron microscope and atomic force microscopy. The human fibroblast cells were cultured with different doses of graphene oxides for day 1 to day 5. Thirty mice divided into three test groups (low, middle, high dose) and one control group were injected with 0.1, 0.25, and 0.4 mg graphene oxides, respectively, and were raised for 1 day, 7 days, and 30 days, respectively. Results showed that the water-soluble graphene oxides were successfully prepared; graphene oxides with dose less than 20 μg/mL did not exhibit toxicity to human fibroblast cells, and the dose of more than 50 μg/mL exhibits obvious cytotoxicity such as decreasing cell adhesion, inducing cell apoptosis, entering into lysosomes, mitochondrion, endoplasm, and cell nucleus. Graphene oxides under low dose (0.1 mg) and middle dose (0.25 mg) did not exhibit obvious toxicity to mice and under high dose (0.4 mg) exhibited chronic toxicity, such as 4/9 mice death and lung granuloma formation, mainly located in lung, liver, spleen, and kidney, almost could not be cleaned by kidney. In conclusion, graphene oxides exhibit dose-dependent toxicity to cells and animals, such as inducing cell apoptosis and lung granuloma formation, and cannot be cleaned by kidney. When graphene oxides are explored for in vivo applications in animal or human body, its biocompatibility must be considered.

Graphene oxide; Biocompatibility; Toxicity; Cell; Mice