Innate but not adaptive immunity regulates lung recovery from chronic exposure to graphene oxide nanosheets

Thomas Loret, Luis Augusto Visani de Luna, Alexander Fordham, Atta Arshad, Katharine Barr, Neus Lozano Valdes, Kostas Kostarelos, Cyrill Bussy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Downloads (Pure)


Graphene has drawn a lot of interest in the material community due to unique physicochemical properties. Owing to a high surface area to volume ratio and free oxygen groups, the oxidized derivative, graphene oxide (GO) has promising potential as a drug delivery system. Here, the lung tolerability of two distinct GO varying in lateral dimensions is investigated, to reveal the most suitable candidate platform for pulmonary drug delivery. Following repeated chronic pulmonary exposure of mice to GO sheet suspensions, the innate and adaptive immune responses are studied. An acute and transient influx of neutrophils and eosinophils in the alveolar space, together with the replacement of alveolar macrophages by interstitial ones and a significant activation toward anti-inflammatory subsets, are found for both GO materials. Micrometric GO give rise to persistent multinucleated macrophages and granulomas. However, neither adaptive immune response nor lung tissue remodeling are induced after exposure to micrometric GO. Concurrently, milder effects and faster tissue recovery, both associated to a faster clearance from the respiratory tract, are found for nanometric GO, suggesting a greater lung tolerability. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of dimensions in the design of biocompatible 2D materials for pulmonary drug delivery system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2104559
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022


  • graphene
  • safety
  • toxicity
  • inhalation
  • degradation
  • nanovector

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Advanced Materials in Medicine
  • Digital Futures
  • Lydia Becker Institute
  • National Graphene Institute


Dive into the research topics of 'Innate but not adaptive immunity regulates lung recovery from chronic exposure to graphene oxide nanosheets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this