Soothing the symptoms of anxiety with graphene oxide

Graphene oxide inhibits post-traumatic stress dysfunction.

Researchers from Graphene Flagship companions SISSA in Italy, ICN2 in Spain and the College of Manchester within the UK, in collaboration with the Ribeirão Preto Medical College of the College of São Paulo, have found that graphene oxide inhibits anxiety-related behaviours in a mannequin research. They discovered that injecting graphene oxide into a selected area of the mind silences the neurons liable for anxious behaviour.

The scientists used a typical animal mannequin: identical to within the traditional cartoon Tom and Jerry, a mouse lives in a gap within the wall of a small room, the place it feels protected and protected. Usually, the mouse explores the room freely and with out fear. However when the mouse smells a cat, it runs again into its gap, the place it is aware of it’s protected. It is a very robust defensive behaviour and the premise for the combat or flight response, which is intrinsic to most animals.

After one week on this surroundings, the mouse remembers this behaviour, even after the cat’s scent has gone. It is a mannequin for post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), a protecting anxiousness behaviour that arises in response to destructive reminiscences. Thousands and thousands of individuals all over the world endure from issues associated to PTSD or anxiousness.

Laura Ballerini, lead creator of the paper and Professor of Physiology at Graphene Flagship associate SISSA, Italy, explains that graphene oxide disables communication between the synapses that trigger this kind of concern.

“Two days after injecting graphene oxide into a selected area of the mouse’s mind, it behaved like different mice that had by no means skilled the scent of a cat of their house surroundings. In different phrases, graphene oxide inhibited the mouse’s anxiety-related behaviour,” Ballerini explains. She says that two days is roughly the time for reminiscences to kind and be consolidated within the mouse’s mind, which corresponds to the time for the signs of tension to subside.

“Graphene oxide interacts with the a part of the mind liable for the formation of fear-related reminiscences, which trigger anxiousness. It doesn’t work like a drug, by inhibiting the operate of the receptors – as an alternative, it quickly halts your entire mechanism lengthy sufficient to disrupt the mind’s fear-related pathology, with out damaging them,” continues Ballerini.

Graphene oxide interrupts anxiety-related neuron alerts with out affecting the neurons, or the encompassing cells. In easy phrases, it solely ‘turns down’ the communications between particular neurons. In a illness the place these communications are over-expressed, like PTSD and anxiousness, focusing on the synapses with graphene oxide is sufficient to halt the event of this pathological behaviour. It is a kind of precision drugs.

Graphene oxide is of course eradicated after a couple of days, as the encompassing tissue digests the fabric. Ballerini says that, after two days, they didn’t observe any irritation, and no traces of graphene oxide remained in any respect. Subsequent, Ballerini and colleagues will search to mix the synapse-targeting behaviour of graphene oxide with its skill to connect to provider molecules for drug supply.

Serge Picaud, Deputy Chief of the Graphene Flagship’s Biomedical Applied sciences Work Bundle, feedback: “This work supplies one other nice demonstration of the therapeutic potential of graphene, used both alone or included in a medical gadget.”

Andrea C. Ferrari, Science and Expertise Officer of the Graphene Flagship and Chair of its Administration Panel, provides: “The healthcare, environmental and organic purposes of graphene and associated supplies have been investigated by the Graphene Flagship since its inception. This work opens up a brand new avenue of analysis and showcases a path for a vital therapeutic use of graphene oxide – probably the most frequent types of functionalised graphene.”


“Biagioni, Audrey Franceschi, et al. “Graphene oxide prevents lateral amygdala dysfunctional synaptic plasticity and reverts lengthy lasting anxiousness conduct in rats.” Biomaterials 271 (2021): 120749.