Clinical potential of plasma-functionalized graphene oxide ultrathin sheets for bone and blood vessel regeneration: Insights from cellular and animal models

Katarzyna Krukiewicz, Paolo Contessotto, Salima Nedjari, Mikaël M. Martino, Idan Redenski, Yankel Gabet, Giorgio Speranza, Timothy O'Brien, George Altankov, Firas Awaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graphene and graphene oxide (GO), due to their unique chemical and physical properties, possess biochemical characteristics that can trigger intercellular signals promoting tissue regeneration. Clinical applications of thin GO-derived sheets have inspired the development of various tissue regeneration and repair approaches. In this study, we demonstrate that ultrathin sheets of plasma-functionalized and reduced GO, with the oxygen content ranging from 3.2 % to 22 % and the nitrogen content from 0 % to 8.3 %, retain their essential mechanical and molecular integrity, and exhibit robust potential for regenerating bone tissue and blood vessels across multiple cellular and animal models. Initially, we observed the growth of blood vessels and bone tissue in vitro using these functionalized GO sheets on human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells and umbilical vein endothelial cells. Remarkably, our study indicates a 2.5-fold increase in mineralization and two-fold increase in tubule formation even in media lacking osteogenic and angiogenic supplements. Subsequently, we observed the initiation, conduction, and formation of bone and blood vessels in a rat tibial osteotomy model, evident from a marked 4-fold increase in the volume of low radio-opacity bone tissue and a significant elevation in connectivity density, all without the use of stem cells or growth factors. Finally, we validated these findings in a mouse critical-size calvarial defect model (33 % higher healing rate) and a rat skin lesion model (up to 2.5-fold increase in the number of blood vessels, and 35 % increase in blood vessels diameter). This study elucidates the pro-osteogenic and pro-angiogenic properties of both pristine and plasma-treated GO ultrathin films. These properties suggest their significant potential for clinical applications, and as valuable biomaterials for investigating fundamental aspects of bone and blood vessel regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number213867
JournalBiomaterials Advances
StatePublished - Jul 2024


  • Angiogenesis
  • Bone regeneration
  • Graphene oxide
  • Plasma treatment
  • Tissue regeneration

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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