In vitro cardiotoxicity evaluation of graphene oxide

Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2019 May;841:8-13. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2019.03.004. Epub 2019 Mar 14.


Graphene is a two-dimensional (2D) monolayer of carbon atoms, tightly packed, forming a honey comb crystal lattice, with physical, chemical, and mechanical properties greatly used for energy storage, electrochemical devices, and in nanomedicine. Many studies showed that nanomaterials have side-effects on health. At present, there is a lack of information regarding graphene and its derivatives including their cardiotoxic properties. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the toxicity of nano-graphene oxide (nano-GO) in the rat cardiomyoblast cell line H9c2 and the involvement of oxidative processes. The cell viability was evaluated with the fluorescein diacetate (FDA)/propidium iodide (PI) and in the trypan blue exclusion assay, furthermore mitochondrial membrane potential and production of free radicals were measured. Genotoxicity was evaluated in comet assay and low molecular weight DNA experiment. Reduction of cell viability with 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 μg/mL nano-GO was observed after 24 h incubation. Besides, nano-GO induced a mitochondrial hyperpolarization and a significant increase of free radicals production in the same concentrations. DNA breaks were observed at 40, 60, 80, and 100 μg/mL. This DNA damage was accompanied by a significant increase in LMW DNA only at 40 μg/mL. In conclusion, the nano-GO caused cardiotoxicity in our in vitro model, with mitochondrial disturbances, generation of reactive species and interactions with DNA, indicating the importance of the further evaluation of the safety of nanomaterials.

Keywords: Cardiomioblasts; Genotoxicity; Nanotoxicology; Oxidative stress; Viability tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiotoxicity / etiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Graphite / adverse effects*
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects
  • Nanostructures / adverse effects
  • Rats


  • graphene oxide
  • Graphite