SEP 14, 2021 8:30 AM PDT

Graphene-Oxide Based Nanotechnology and Immunology-An Exciting Partnership

As treatments and infection control practices surrounding COVID-19 continue to evolve, nanotechnological solutions are being considered for their unique properties. Graphene is an atomic-thick layer of atoms structured in a two-dimensional fashion. Its derivatives, such as graphene-oxide (GO), contain antimicrobial and antiviral properties due primarily to their electrostatic charge. For example, the strong negative electrostatic charge of GO has an affinity for the positively charged viral surface of COVID-19. This makes GO uniquely suited for functions such as disinfection or decontamination of surfaces. Recently, graphene-based material applications have been proposed not just for COVID-19, but also for other conditions such as cancer. A large systematic review from 2018 highlighted multiple studies citing the large surface-area of graphene-based nanomaterials (GBNs) as a valuable property for developing drug and gene delivery systems. A lot can be learned and theoretically proposed from studying the intrinsic properties of GBNs alone. However, the results of recent experimentation, published in August 2021, point to surprising developments in their application to Immunology. 

Large-sized GO sheets can enhance the binding between antigen-presenting cells such as Dendritic Cells and T-cells in mice. This binding process initiates the immune response against a particular pathogen and is thus integral to developing a robust immune response. The mice were injected with vaccinations adjuvanted with either a small sheet of GO or a large sheet of GO and exposed to an adapted strain of SARS-CoV-2. Results revealed that large GO-adjuvanted vaccinated mice experienced a significant reduction in the viral genetic material compared to small GO-adjuvanted vaccinated mice. Over 99% of viral copies had been cleared from the lungs of large GO-adjuvanted vaccinated mice. The robust immune response observed was therefore dependent on the size of the GO nanosheet associated with the vaccine. This study provided insight into how GO nanosheets can promote communication between immune cells, thus carrying implications for vaccine engineering. 

Graphene-based nanomaterials show promising potential. However, other 2-dimensional materials exist, and their biomedical applications remain to be explored. Although it may be some time before various solutions progress to human studies and subsequent clinical applications, as the results of studies like these emerge, we will likely continue to witness growth in this exciting field. 

 

 

Sources: ChemBioEng Reviews, Pharmaceutics, Advanced Materials

About the Author
  • Dr. Christopher DiMaio is a Science Writer at Labroots. He received his MD from Penn State College of Medicine in 2014. His academic and professional interests include Neuroscience, Behavioral health, Immunology, and Healthcare improvement, among others. He is an active part of his community.
You May Also Like
SEP 22, 2021
Health & Medicine
Regular Exercise Linked to Huge Reduction in Anxiety Risk
SEP 22, 2021
Regular Exercise Linked to Huge Reduction in Anxiety Risk
Exercise is commonly touted as a good way to improve mental health, but little is known about why physical activity can ...
OCT 04, 2021
Health & Medicine
Guillain-Barre Syndrome After COVID-19 Infection
OCT 04, 2021
Guillain-Barre Syndrome After COVID-19 Infection
Researchers with the International GBS Outcome Study (IGOS) investigated newly-diagnosed GBS patients from the beginning ...
OCT 07, 2021
Neuroscience
Unclogged: Constipation Drug May Stimulate Memory and Cognition
OCT 07, 2021
Unclogged: Constipation Drug May Stimulate Memory and Cognition
A drug commonly prescribed for constipation shows promise for memory and cognition
OCT 11, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
A Genetic Risk Factor is Shared by Alzheimer's and Severe COVID-19
OCT 11, 2021
A Genetic Risk Factor is Shared by Alzheimer's and Severe COVID-19
While amyloid plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, the neurological disorder has also been linked to inflammat ...
OCT 14, 2021
Neuroscience
Facial Cues and Context Clues: Autistic Children May Overly Rely on Facial Expressions to Judge Emotion
OCT 14, 2021
Facial Cues and Context Clues: Autistic Children May Overly Rely on Facial Expressions to Judge Emotion
Researchers find that autistic children identify emotions through facial expressions, and so misidentify hidden or maske ...
OCT 16, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Microtubules Found to Act as Mechanosensors
OCT 16, 2021
Microtubules Found to Act as Mechanosensors
As organisms grow, live, and move through the world, they're subjected to an array of internal and external forces. Biol ...
Loading Comments...