A novel aspect of functionalized graphene quantum dots in cytotoxicity studies

Bahare Mehrdad Vahdati, Sepide Pourhashem, Mosslim Sedghi, Zahra Vaezi, Behnaz Shojaedin-Givi, Alimorad Rashidi, Hossein Naderi-Manesh
Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA 2019 September 10, : 104649
Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) represent a new generation of graphene-based nanomaterials with enormous potential for use and development of a variety of biomedical applications. However, up to now little studies have investigated the impact of GQDs on human health in case of exposure. GQDs were synthesized from citric acid as carbon precursor by hydrothermal treatment at 160 °C for 4 h. The synthesized GQDs showed strong blue emission under UV-Irradiation with fluorescence quantum yield of 9.8%. The obtained GQDs were further carbonized, activated and functionalized by nitric acid vapor method. Nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherms were used to analyze the surface area and porous structures of GQDs. The results revealed that compared to GQDs, the specific surface area of functionalized graphene quantum dots (fGQDs) has been increased from 0.0667 to 2.5747 m2 /g and pore structures have been enhanced significantly. The potential cytotoxic effect of GQDs, fGQDs and GO suspensions was evaluated on HFF cell line using MTT assays and flow cytometry method after 24 h incubation. We have for the first time demonstrated that by carbonization, activation and functionalization of GQDs they still showed cytocompatible properties. We observed excellent biocompatibility of GQDs and fGQDs at low concentrations. Moreover, the results suggested that modification of GQDs yields product suspensions with high surface area, enhanced pore volume and loading capacities. Thus, fGQDs represent an attractive candidate for further use in drug delivery systems and bio-imaging application.

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