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In Vitro comparison of biotoxicity of Reduced Graphene and Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles

Andrij Holian, PhD
SURP Student: 
Lucas Uecker, University of Montana Western

Sub groups of graphene nanoparticles have been increasing in popularity for commercial applications due to the particle’s unique chemical properties and low-cost. This study evaluated the biotoxicity of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) and graphene oxide (GO) particles on C10 lung epithelial cells and C57BL/6 alveolar macrophages isolated from mice.  Evaluations included measurements of cell viability and cell death, along with the release of proinflammatory cytokines from both cells. There was a significant decrease and greater decrease in cell viability of C10 cells when exposed to rGO particles compared to GO. However, there was no measurable release of inflammatory cytokines from the C10 cells, which included TNF-⍺, IL-33, IL-13, and IL-1⍺. Similar to the epithelial cells, alveolar macrophages also showed a significant decrease in cell viability and an increase in cell death after being exposed to rGO particles that was greater than the response to GO. The macrophage cells were tested for IL-1β release (a product of NLRP3 Inflammasome activation).  Similar to the toxicity outcomes, there was a significant dose response showing higher levels of IL-1β response in rGO. In summary, the results demonstrated that the rGO particle is more bioactive in both models when compared to GO.