Graphene-based nanomaterials for peripheral nerve regeneration

Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2023 Dec 18:11:1306184. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2023.1306184. eCollection 2023.


Emerging nanotechnologies offer numerous opportunities in the field of regenerative medicine and have been widely explored to design novel scaffolds for the regeneration and stimulation of nerve tissue. In this review, we focus on peripheral nerve regeneration. First, we introduce the biomedical problem and the present status of nerve conduits that can be used to guide, fasten and enhance regeneration. Then, we thoroughly discuss graphene as an emerging candidate in nerve tissue engineering, in light of its chemical, tribological and electrical properties. We introduce the graphene forms commonly used as neural interfaces, briefly review their applications, and discuss their potential toxicity. We then focus on the adoption of graphene in peripheral nervous system applications, a research field that has gained in the last years ever-increasing attention. We discuss the potential integration of graphene in guidance conduits, and critically review graphene interaction not only with peripheral neurons, but also with non-neural cells involved in nerve regeneration; indeed, the latter have recently emerged as central players in modulating the immune and inflammatory response and accelerating the growth of new tissue.

Keywords: CVD graphene; graphene-based materials; graphene-based neural interfaces; nerve conduits; peripheral nerve regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This work has received funding from the University of Pisa under the “PRA—Progetti di Ricerca di Ateneo” (Institutional Research Grants)—Project No. PRA 2020-2021 92 “Quantum Computing, Technologies and Applications,” the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 881603 and by the Next-Generation EU project ECS00000017 “Ecosistema dell’Innovazione” Tuscany Health Ecosystem (THE, PNRR, Spoke 4: Nanotechnologies for diagnosis and therapy).