Effects of Graphene Inside Human Body Studied on Simulated Lung

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Researchers at Empa and the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) simulated 3-D lung to study the effects of graphene on human body.

Scientists are studying the effects of graphene on exposure inside the human body. A team of researchers from Empa and the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) in Fribourg conducted studies on a three-dimensional lung model to examine the behavior of graphene and graphene-like materials inside the human body.

Graphene has properties such as tensile, tear-proof, highly elastic, and electrically conductive, which makes it applicable to a wide range of fields. There are many important projects dealing with graphene such as Graphene Flagship project launched by European Union and impact of graphene on human organism by Empa and AMI. The later project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), which uses an artificial 3-D lung model. The main objective is to find the impact of graphene and graphene-like materials on the human lung under conditions that are as realistic as possible.

The team of researchers simulated the actual conditions at the blood-air barrier and observed the impact of graphene on the lung tissue as realistically as possible. The findings were published in the journal Carbon on October 2018.

“The human organism typically comes into contact with graphene particles via respiration,” explains Tina Bürki from Empa’s Particles-Biology Interactions lab. The researchers sprayed graphene particles on the lung cells with the aid of a nebulizer, in order to simulate the process in the body as closely as possible. They concluded that no acute damages were found due to the exposure of graphene on the epithelial surface of the lung cells.


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