Articles | 2021

Journal of Controlled Release, 2021, 338, 330-340

The impact of graphene oxide sheet lateral dimensions on their pharmacokinetic and tissue distribution profiles in mice

Dhifaf Jasim, Leon Newman, Artur Filipe Rodrigues, Isabella A. Vacchi, Matteo A. Lucherelli, Neus Lozano, Cécilia Ménard-Moyon, Alberto Bianco, Kostas Kostarelos*

Although the use of graphene and 2-dimensional (2D) materials in biomedicine has been explored for over a decade now, there are still significant knowledge gaps regarding the fate of these materials upon interaction with living systems. Here, the pharmacokinetic profile of graphene oxide (GO) sheets of three different lateral dimensions was studied. The GO materials were functionalized with a PEGylated DOTA (1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid), a radiometal chelating agent for radioisotope attachment for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT/CT) imaging. Our results revealed that GO materials with three distinct size distributions, large (l-GO-DOTA), small (s-GO-DOTA) and ultra-small (us-GO-DOTA), were sequestered by the spleen and liver. Significant accumulation of the large material (l-GO-DOTA) in the lungs was also observed, unlike the other two materials. Interestingly, there was extensive urinary excretion of all three GO nanomaterials indicating that urinary excretion of these structures was not affected by lateral dimensions. Comparing with previous studies, we believe that the thickness of layered nanomaterials is the predominant factor that governs their excretion rather than lateral size. However, the rate of urinary excretion was affected by lateral size, with large GO excreting at slower rates. This study provides better understanding of 2D materials behaviour with different structural features in vivo.