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Table 1 Toxicity of GFNs in organs

From: Toxicity of graphene-family nanoparticles: a general review of the origins and mechanisms

Graphene family nanomaterials Physiochemial properties and functionalization Animals Dose and time incubation Effects Reference
Nanoscale graphene oxide (NGO) No information C57BL/6 mice 0, 1, 5, 10 mg/kg, intratracheal instillation
0 h, 24 h, 48 h, 72 h and 1 week
Result in acute lung injury (ALI) and chronic pulmonary fibrosis [30]
Few layer graphene (FLG) No information ICR mice 0.1, or 1 mg/mL, oral gavage or intratracheal instillation 3 or 28 days Intratracheally instilled FLG resulted in acute lung injury and pulmonary edema, FLG didn’t show detectable absorption through the gastrointestinal tract by oral gavage. [61]
Graphene platelets (GPs) No information Mice inhalation exposure, 1 day-6 weeks GP caused acute inflammation in lung at 1 day, and alleviated inflammation in lung after 6 weeks [48]
Graphene nanoplatelets (GPs) Thickness of 10 nm
Size of 5–30 μm
Female C57BL/6 strain mice 50 μg per mouse, pharyngeal aspiration or intrapleural installation, 24 h- 7 days Large GP were inflammogenic in both the lung and the pleural space [24]
GO Thickness of 0.93 nm
Size of 150–250 nm
Sprague-Dawley rats 0.5 or 4 mg/m3, inhalation exposure, single 6 h The single inhalation exposure to GO induce minimal toxic responses in rat lungs [235]
GO Thickness of 0.9 nm
size of l-GO: 1–5 μm
size of s-GO:100–500 nm
Male ICR mice 1.0 mg/kg, intravenous injected, 24 h Accumulated mainly in the liver and lungs [78]
GO Thickness of < 4 nm
size of l-GO:237.9 ± 79.3 nm; size of s-GO: 54.9 ± 23.1 nm
Male and female ICR-strain mice 24 mg/kg, tail vein injected, 5 days Didn’t effect pup numbers, sex ratio, weights, pup survival rates or pup growth, low toxicity for male reproduction [66]
GO Thickness of ~1.0 nm
sizes of 10–800 nm
Kun Ming mice 1,10 mg/ kg, intravenous injection 14 days Led to high accumulation, long-time retention, pulmonary edema and granuloma formation [49]
NGO-PEG Thickness of 1 nm
size of 10–800 nm
Male Kunming mice 5 mg/kg, tail intravenous injection
10 min-24 h
NGO-PEG alleviated acute tissue injuries, decreased the early weight loss [81]
Thickness of 0.94,1.22, 4.43 and 5.66 nm,
size of 450, 25, 50 and 27 nm
Balb/c mice 4 mg/kg, intraperitoneal injection
1, 7 and 30 days
Accumulated in the reticuloendothelial (RES) system including liver and spleen over a long time [31]
Graphene quantum dots
Thickness of GO, GQD: 0.5–1 nm
sizes of GO, GQD: 3–5 nm
Balb/c mice 20 mg/kg intravenous injection or intraperitoneal injection 14 days GO appeared toxic and caused death
GQD revealed no accumulation in organs and caused low cytotoxicity
Purified graphene oxide (pGO) Thickness of 1–2 nm,
lateral dimension of 100–500 nm
Female C57Bl/6 mice 50 μg/animal, intraperitoneal injection
24 h, 7 days,
Induced moderate inflammation and granuloma formation following [99]
GO Thickness of 3.9 and 4.05 nm,
size of 350 nm and 2 μm
C57BL/6 male mice Series concentrations, subcutaneous injection21 days The micro-size of GO induced much stronger inflammation responses than the nanosized GO [34]
GO Size of 1110 to 16 200 nm C57BL/6 J mice 2 or 20 mg/kg, subcutaneous and intraperitoneal injection Both GO and a reduction of GO result in immune cell infiltration, uptake, and clearance. [84]
RGO-iron oxide nanoparticles (rGO-IONP) Thickness of ˂10 nm
Size of 15.0 ± 2.0 nm
Female Balb/c mice 400 μg, subcutaneous injection, RGO–IONP can effectively inactivate multiple-drug-resistant bacteria in subcutaneous abscesses [236]
Thickness of 0.94, 1.22, 4.43 and 5.66 nm,
size of 450, 25, 50 and 27 nm
Female balb/c mice 100 mg/kg, Oral administration; 50 mg/kg, intraperitoneal injection, 1, 7 and 30 days No obvious tissue uptake via oral administration, indicating the rather limited intestinal adsorption of those nanomaterials [237]
RGO sizes of small rGO: 87.97 ± 30.83,
sizes of large rGO:472.08 ± 249.17 nm
Male C57black/6 mice 60 mg/kg, oral gavage, 5 days RGO affected general locomotor activity, balance, and neuromuscular coordination, but showed little change in exploratory, anxiety-like, or learning and memory behaviors. [31]