Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Graphene quantum dots as anti-inflammatory therapy for colitis

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Science Advances  29 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 18, eaaz2630
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz2630

Abstract

While graphene and its derivatives have been suggested as a potential nanomedicine in several biomimetic models, their specific roles in immunological disorders still remain elusive. Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) may be suitable for treating intestinal bowel diseases (IBDs) because of their low toxicity in vivo and ease of clearance. Here, GQDs are intraperitoneally injected to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)–induced chronic and acute colitis model, and its efficacy has been confirmed. In particular, GQDs effectively prevent tissue degeneration and ameliorate intestinal inflammation by inhibiting TH1/TH17 polarization. Moreover, GQDs switch the polarization of macrophages from classically activated M1 to M2 and enhance intestinal infiltration of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Therefore, GQDs effectively attenuate excessive inflammation by regulating immune cells, indicating that they can be used as promising alternative therapeutic agents for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, including IBDs.

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