Special Issue "Safety Assessment of Graphene-Based Materials: Human Health and Environment"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marco Pelin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Life Science, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Interests: Marine toxins; Algal toxins; Toxicology; Pharmacology; Skin toxicity; Oral toxicity; Inflammation; Mechanisms of toxicity; Methods of detection
Dr. Fabio Candotto Carniel
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy
Interests: Carbon based nanomaterials; Ecotoxicology; Ecophysiology; Environmental toxicology; Environmental pollution; Graphene; Graphene-related materials; Graphene environmental fate; Graphene biodegradability; Plant biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Graphene-Based Materials (GBMs) are a novel class of carbon-based nanomaterials characterized by extraordinary physicochemical properties that are the basis for a wide range of applications. These are used in various fields including nanoelectronics, energy technology, and biomedicine. Increasing effort is being made to produce novel GBMs with modified and expanded properties. However, because of the expected significant increase in the GBM market over the next few years and the concomitant release of GBM-containing nanoparticles into the environment, safety issues related to human health and the environment need to be addressed.

The increasing widespread interest and use of GBMs necessitates a comprehensive evaluation of the potential impacts of these materials on human health and the environment. Even though a large body of knowledge on the (eco)toxicological impact of GBMs exists, toxicological data are still insufficient to draw conclusions on their safety for human health and the environment. In addition, a special focus is still needed to understand the physicochemical properties influencing the (eco)toxicological effects of GBMs in compliance with the safe-by-design principle. This Special Issue of Nanomaterials, “Safety Assessment of Graphene-Based Materials: Human Health and the Environment”, aims to present a compilation of articles that demonstrate the continuous effort being made to assess the safety of GBMs for both humans and the environment with the ultimate goal of implementing the hazard characterization of these materials.

Dr. Marco Pelin
Dr. Fabio Candotto Carniel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • graphene-based materials
  • graphene
  • nanotoxicology
  • ecotoxicology
  • hazard characterization
  • mechanisms of toxicity
  • safe-by-design

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Carbon-Based Nanomaterials Increase Reactivity of Primary Monocytes towards Various Bacteria and Modulate Their Differentiation into Macrophages
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(10), 2510; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11102510 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 322
Abstract
The evaluation of carbon-based nanomaterials’ (C-BNMs’) interactions with the immune system, notably their ability to cause inflammation, is a critical step in C-BNM health risk assessment. Particular attention should be given to those C-BNMs that do not cause direct cytotoxicity or inflammation on [...] Read more.
The evaluation of carbon-based nanomaterials’ (C-BNMs’) interactions with the immune system, notably their ability to cause inflammation, is a critical step in C-BNM health risk assessment. Particular attention should be given to those C-BNMs that do not cause direct cytotoxicity or inflammation on their own. However, the intracellular presence of these non-biodegradable nanomaterials could dysregulate additional cell functions. This is even more crucial in the case of phagocytes, which are the main mediators of defensive inflammation towards pathogens. Hence, our study was focused on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and two different types of graphene platelets (GPs) and whether their intracellular presence modulates a proinflammatory response from human primary monocytes towards common pathogens. Firstly, we confirmed that all tested C-BNMs caused neither direct cytotoxicity nor the release of tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6 or IL-10. However, such pre-exposed monocytes showed increased responsiveness to additional bacterial stimuli. In response to several types of bacteria, monocytes pre-treated with GP1 produced a significantly higher quantity of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10. Monocytes pre-treated with MWCNTs produced increased levels of IL-10. All the tested C-BNMs enhanced monocyte phagocytosis and accelerated their differentiation towards macrophages. This study confirms the immunomodulatory potential of C-BNMs. Full article
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Article
Partial Reversibility of the Cytotoxic Effect Induced by Graphene-Based Materials in Skin Keratinocytes
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(8), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081602 - 15 Aug 2020
Viewed by 926
Abstract
In the frame of graphene-based material (GBM) hazard characterization, particular attention should be given to the cutaneous effects. Hence, this study investigates if HaCaT skin keratinocytes exposed to high concentrations of few-layer graphene (FLG) or partially dehydrated graphene oxide (d-GO) for a short [...] Read more.
In the frame of graphene-based material (GBM) hazard characterization, particular attention should be given to the cutaneous effects. Hence, this study investigates if HaCaT skin keratinocytes exposed to high concentrations of few-layer graphene (FLG) or partially dehydrated graphene oxide (d-GO) for a short time can recover from the cytotoxic insult, measured by means of cell viability, mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress, after GBM removal from the cell medium. When compared to 24 or 72 h continuous exposure, recovery experiments suggest that the cytotoxicity induced by 24 h exposure to GBM is only partially recovered after 48 h culture in GBM-free medium. This partial recovery, higher for FLG as compared to GO, is not mediated by autophagy and could be the consequence of GBM internalization into cells. The ability of GBMs to be internalized inside keratinocytes together with the partial reversibility of the cellular damage is important in assessing the risk associated with skin exposure to GBM-containing devices. Full article
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Article
Proinflammatory Effect of Carbon-Based Nanomaterials: In Vitro Study on Stimulation of Inflammasome NLRP3 via Destabilisation of Lysosomes
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030418 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1812
Abstract
Carbon-based nanomaterials (C-BNM) have recently attracted an increased attention as the materials with potential applications in industry and medicine. Bioresistance and proinflammatory potential of C-BNM is the main obstacle for their medicinal application which was documented in vivo and in vitro. However, there [...] Read more.
Carbon-based nanomaterials (C-BNM) have recently attracted an increased attention as the materials with potential applications in industry and medicine. Bioresistance and proinflammatory potential of C-BNM is the main obstacle for their medicinal application which was documented in vivo and in vitro. However, there are still limited data especially on graphene derivatives such as graphene platelets (GP). In this work, we compared multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and two different types of pristine GP in their potential to activate inflammasome NLRP3 (The nod-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3) in vitro. Our study is focused on exposure of THP-1/THP1-null cells and peripheral blood monocytes to C-BNM as representative models of canonical and alternative pathways, respectively. Although all nanomaterials were extensively accumulated in the cytoplasm, increasing doses of all C-BNM did not lead to cell death. We observed direct activation of NLRP3 via destabilization of lysosomes and release of cathepsin B into cytoplasm only in the case of MWCNTs. Direct activation of NLRP3 by both GP was statistically insignificant but could be induced by synergic action with muramyl dipeptide (MDP), as a representative molecule of the family of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). This study demonstrates a possible proinflammatory potential of GP and MWCNT acting through NLRP3 activation. Full article
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Article
Few Layer Graphene Does Not Affect Cellular Homeostasis of Mouse Macrophages
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(2), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10020228 - 28 Jan 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Graphene-related materials (GRMs) are widely used in various applications due to their unique properties. A growing number of reports describe the impact of different carbon nanomaterials, including graphene oxide (GO), reduced GO (rGO), and carbon nanotubes (CNT), on immune cells, but there is [...] Read more.
Graphene-related materials (GRMs) are widely used in various applications due to their unique properties. A growing number of reports describe the impact of different carbon nanomaterials, including graphene oxide (GO), reduced GO (rGO), and carbon nanotubes (CNT), on immune cells, but there is still a very limited number of studies on graphene. In this work, we investigated the biological responses of few layer graphene (FLG) on mouse macrophages (bone marrow derived macrophages, BMDMs), which are part of the first line of defense in innate immunity. In particular, our paper describes our findings of short-term FLG treatment in BMDMs with a focus on observing material internalization and changes in general cell morphology. Subsequent investigation of cytotoxicity parameters showed that increasing doses of FLG did not hamper the viability of cells and did not trigger inflammatory responses. Basal level induced autophagic activity sufficed to maintain the cellular homeostasis of FLG treated cells. Our results shed light on the impact of FLG on primary macrophages and show that FLG does not elicit immunological responses leading to cell death. Full article
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