Graphene oxide induces cardiovascular defects in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo model: In-vivo toxicity assessment

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Jul 10;673:810-820. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.082. Epub 2019 Apr 8.


Graphene oxide (GO) has wide engineering applications in various areas, including electronics, energy storage, pharmaceuticals, nanomedicine, environmental remediation and biotechnology, because of its unique physico-chemical properties. In the present study, the risk-related information of GO was evaluated to examine the potential ecological and health risks of developmental toxicity. Although the overall developmental toxicity of GO has been well characterized in zebrafish, however, its release effect at a certain concentration of living organisms with specific cardiovascular defects remains largely elusive. Therefore, this study was conducted to further evaluate the toxicity of GO on embryonic development and cardiovascular defects in zebrafish embryos used as an in-vivo animal model. As a result, the presence of GO at a small concentration (0.1-0.3 mg/mL) does not affect the embryonic development. However, GO at higher concentrations (0.4-1 mg/mL) induces significant embryonic mortality, increase heartbeat, delayed hatching, cardiotoxicity, cardiovascular defects, retardation of cardiac looping, increased apoptosis and decreased hemoglobinization. These results provide valuable information that can be used to study the eco-toxicological effects of GO for assessing its bio-safety according to environmental concentration. In addition, the present results would also be usefully utilized for understanding the environmental risks associated with GO on human health in general.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cardiotoxicity; Cardiovascular defects; Globin expression analysis; Graphene oxide; Zebrafish embryo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / drug effects*
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation
  • Graphite / toxicity*
  • Oxides / toxicity
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*


  • Oxides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Graphite