Open Access Nano Express

Carbon dots: a safe nanoscale substance for the immunologic system of mice

Zhongcai Gao1, Guangxia Shen2*, Xiunan Zhao1, Na Dong1, Peiyuan Jia1, Junhua Wu1, Daxiang Cui2, Yingge Zhang1 and Yuxia Wang1*

Author affiliations

1 Beijing Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Beijing 100850, People’s Republic of China

2 National Key Laboratory of Nano/Micro Fabrication Technology, Research Institute of Micro/Nano Science and Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People’s Republic of China

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:276  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-276

Published: 8 June 2013


We aimed at investigating the effect of carbon dots on the BALB/c mice immune system. Mice were respectively treated with different doses of carbon dots and saline. At 1 and 9 days after intravenous administration of carbon dots, splenocyte proliferation, subpopulation of the peripheral lymphocytes, and induction of primary immune responses in mice were investigated. The results showed that high dose of carbon dots could promote the percentages of CD3+ and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion and decrease the proportions of CD4+/CD8+ on the first day after administration. At 9 days post exposure, the proliferation of splenocytes had a significant increase. IFN-γ secretion and proportions of CD3+/CD19+ were also found to have an obvious promotion, and both the percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes were raised, whereas the expression of cytokines made little change in the treated groups, except for IL-12 which had a slight increase in the 50-mg/kg group. The weight coefficients and histological analysis of the spleen and thymus of the treated mice exerted fewer differences compared with those from the control mice. It suggests that carbon dots could influence the immune functions of normal BALB/c mice by inducing Th1 and Tc responses and that these effects were not enough to induce the morphological change of the immune organs.

Carbon dots; Immune function; Splenocyte proliferation; Cytokine