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Soft Graphene Nanofibers Designed for the Acceleration of Nerve Growth and Development

Significance Statement

Understanding in the cells responses to programmed electrical signals is a vital tool for the study of the various biological research fields from bioelectronics to regenerative medicine, especially for the nerve engineering. In this study, a novel soft graphene nanofibers was successfully prepared by controlling the assembly of graphene oxide sheets on the surface of electrospun polymer nanofibers, and followed by chemical reduction with hydriodic acid. The graphene nanofibers have ultrathin graphene shells that wrapped the entire surface of the polymer nanofiber, which led to a flexible feature and recoverable electrical conductivity, and physicochemical stability in aqueous solutions with pH values from 2.0 to 11.0. By using the graphene nanofibers for cellular electrical stimulation, a sustained and irreversible change on the electron charge density and the location of the opened Ca2+ channel in the cell membrane was achieved, which avoided the common inhibitory effect of the long-term electrical stimulation on the replenishment of Ca2+ store, and resulted in a fast and sustainable promotion on the neurons growth and development. The speed of the neurites elongation and maturation of these neurons was almost two times than that of the neurons on the tissue culture plates and graphene film with or without electrical stimulation. We envision that the graphene nanofibers maybe can serve asa powerful tool for developing future therapies for nerve-related disease and injuries in central and peripheral nervous system. In addition, the successful formation of graphene shells in the complex 3D nanofibers extended the superior properties of graphene from traditional 2D nanometer scales to 3D micrometer scales by controlled assembly of graphene oxide sheets in 3D architectural geometry. We expect that this novel preparation technique will open a new way to adapt the graphene macroscopic real-world applications, not only to biomedicine, but also to chemical, electronic, energy, and environmental applications. 

 

About The Author

Zhang-Qi Feng completed a visiting scholarship at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as an exchange student (2008–2010), and then earned his Ph.D. (2010) degree in Biomedical Engineering from Southeast University. In fall 2010, he moved to Sun Yat-Sen University as a Lecturer supported by the “100 Talents Program” in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Since spring 2014, he held an academic position in the School of Chemical Engineering of Nanjing University of Science & Technology. Feng developed several new micro/nano fibrous scaffolds by electrospinning, and has pioneered the application of electrospun fibers to bioartificial liver. His current research interests include the development of bio-inspired materials to improve tissue regeneration and works on advancing understanding the fundamental interaction between biomaterials and biological systems.

 

About The Author

Ting Wang completed a visiting scholarship at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as an exchange student (2008–2010), and then received her Ph.D. (2010) degree in Biomedical Engineering from Southeast University. In spring 2011, Ting got the position as a lecturer in the State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics in the Southeast University. Ting current devotes her attention to developed several new micro/nanoparticles for drug delivery and its bio-safety, and understanding the fundamental interaction between nanoparticle and cell membrane.

 

About The Author

Jia-Cheng Li is currently carrying out master’s degree research with Prof. Zhang-Qi Feng at Nanjing University of Science & Technology. He received his Bachelor of Engineering in Pharmaceutical engineering from the University of Huang Shan, Anhui province, China in 2014. His research interests include the synthesis, properties, and applications of multiphase micro/nanoparticles.

 

About The Author

Bin Zhao is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Materials Science at Nanjing University of Science and Technology with Prof. Zhang-Qi Feng. He received a bachelor degree (2010) in Materials Chemistry from Binzhou University of China. His current research interests focus on creating short electrospun functional fibers for modulating the behavior of stem cells and on understanding the cell signal transduction in short fibers dispersions.

Soft Graphene Nanofibers Designed for Acceleration of Nerve Growth and Development. Global Medical Discovery

Journal Reference

Adv Mater. 2015 Nov;27(41):6462-8.

Feng ZQ1, Wang T2, Zhao B1, Li J1, Jin L3.

Show Affiliations
  1. School of Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, 200 Xiao Ling Wei, Nanjing, 210094, China.
  2. State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210096, China.
  3. School of Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, 51006, China.

Abstract

Soft graphene nanofibers with recoverable electrical conductivity and excellent physicochemical stability are prepared by a controlled assembly technique. By using the soft graphene nanofibers for cellular electrical stimulation, the common inhibitory effect of long-term electrical stimulation onnerve growth and development is avoided, which usually happens with traditional 2D conductive materials.

© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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