Crossover between Anti- and Pro-oxidant Activities of Graphene Quantum Dots in the Absence or Presence of Light

Our work demonstrates that Graphene quantum dots can efficiently scavenge a number of free radicals and thereby protect cells against oxidative damage

Yu Chong; Cuicui Ge; Ge Fang; Xin Tian; Xiaochuan Ma; Tao Wen; Wayne G. Wamer; Chunying Chen; Zhifang Chai; Jun-Jie Yin

2016

Scholarcy highlights

  • Graphene quantum dots, zero-dimensional carbon materials displaying excellent luminescence properties, show great promise for medical applications such as imaging, drug delivery, biosensors, and novel therapeutics
  • A deeper understanding of how the properties of GQDs interact with biological systems is essential for these applications
  • Our work demonstrates that GQDs can efficiently scavenge a number of free radicals and thereby protect cells against oxidative damage
  • We confirm that light-induced formation of reactive oxygen species originates from the electron–hole pair and, more importantly, reveal that singlet oxygen is generated by photoexcited GQDs via both energy-transfer and electron-transfer pathways
  • Upon light excitation, GQDs accelerate the oxidation of non-enzymic anti-oxidants and promote lipid peroxidation, contributing to the phototoxicity of GQDs
  • Our results reveal that GQDs can display both anti- and pro-oxidant activities, depending upon light exposure, which will be useful in guiding the safe application and development of potential anticancer/antibacterial applications for GQDs

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