Can graphene oxide cause damage to eyesight?

Lu Yan, Yaping Wang, Xu Xu, Chao Zeng, Jiangping Hou, Mimi Lin, Jingzhou Xu, Fei Sun, Xiaojie Huang, Liming Dai*, Fan Lu, Yong Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


As graphene becomes one of the most exciting candidates for multifunctional biomedical applications, contact between eyes and graphene-based materials is inevitable. On the other hand, eyes, as a special organ in the human body, have unique advantages to be used for testing new biomedical research and development, such as drug delivery. Intraocular biocompatible studies on graphene-related materials are thus essential. Here, we report our recent studies on intraocular biocompatibility and cytotoxicity of graphene oxide (GO) both in vitro and in vivo. The successful preparation of GO nanosheets was confirmed using atomic force microscopy, contact angle analyzer, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. The influence of GO on human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in terms of the cell morphology, viability, membrane integrity, and apoptosis was investigated using various techniques, including optical micrography, cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay, and apoptosis assay. The addition of GO had little influence on cell morphology, but the change was visible after long-time culturing. RPE cells showed higher than 60% cell viability by CCK-8 assay in GO solutions and less than 8% LDH release, although a small amount of apoptosis (1.5%) was observed. In vitro results suggested good biocompatibility of GO to RPE cells with slight adverse influence, on the cell viability and morphology in long-time periods, along with aggregation of GO. Thus, some further studies are needed to clarify the cytotoxicity mechanism of GO. GO intravitreally injected eyes showed few changes in eyeball appearance, intraocular pressure (IOP), eyesight, and histological photos. Our results suggested that GO did not cause any significant toxicity to the cell growth and proliferation. Intravitreal injection of GO into rabbits' eyes did not lead to much change in the eyeball appearance, IOP, electroretinogram, and histological examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265-1270
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2012


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