Achieving stem cell imaging and osteogenic differentiation by using nitrogen doped graphene quantum dots

  • Hao Geng
  • Jiajun Qiu
  • Hongqin Zhu
  • Xuanyong LiuEmail author
Engineering and Nano-engineering Approaches for Medical Devices Original Research
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Engineering and Nano-engineering Approaches for Medical Devices


Nitrogen doped graphene quantum dots (N-GQDs) were synthesized to explore and extend their potential applications in biomedical field. The hemocompatibility and cytotoxity of the obtained N-GQDs were primarily assessed at concentrations ranging from 10 to 100 μg/ml. From the results, it was found that the proliferation of rat Bone Mesenchymal Stem Cells (rBMSCs) was depressed to a certain extent after incubating with the high concentration (100 μg/ml) of N-GQDs. The nanoscale size and superior dispersibility endow N-GQDs with good cell permeability. Meanwhile, owing to their intrinsic photoluminescence characteristic, the N-GQDs can be used to label cells with high uniformity and light stability in absence of chemical dyes. More importantly, the up-regulated expression of alkaline phosphate (ALP), extracellular matrix, osteopontin (OPN) and osteocalcin (OCN) in rBMSCs cultured with N-GQDs, indicating N-GQDs have the abilities to promote rBMSCs osteogenic differentiation. This work would help give a new insight into the advantages of N-GQDs and pave the way for application of N-GQDs in regenerative medicine fields.



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars of China (51525207), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570973), Shanghai Committee of Science and Technology, China (15441904900) and International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (GJHZ1850).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10856_2018_6095_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.4 mb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of CeramicsChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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