Authors: Ingrid Safina, Shawn E. Bourdo, Karrer M. Algazali, Ganesh Kannarpady, Fumiya Watanabe, Kieng Bao Vang, Alexandru S. Biris
Publication: PLoS One. 2020;15(5):e0232670. Published 2020 May 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0232670
Abstract: Complex skin wounds have always been a significant health and economic problem worldwide due to their elusive and sometimes poor or non-healing conditions. If not well-treated,
such wounds may lead to amputation, infections, cancer, or even death. Thus, there is a need to efficiently generate multifunctional skin grafts that address a wide range of skin conditions, including non-healing wounds, and enable the regeneration of new skin tissue. Here, we propose studying pristine graphene and two of its oxygen-functionalized derivatives—high and low-oxygen graphene films—as potential substrates for skin cell proliferation and differentiation. Using BJ cells (human foreskin-derived fibroblasts) to represent basic skin cells, we show that the changes in surface properties of pristine graphene due to oxygen functionalization do not seem to statistically impact the normal proliferation and maturation of skin cells. Our results indicate that the pristine and oxidized graphenes presented relatively low cytotoxicity to BJ fibroblasts and, in fact, support their growth and bioactivity. Therefore, these graphene films could potentially be integrated into more complex skin regenerative systems to support skin regeneration. Because graphene’s surface can be relatively easily functionalized with various chemical groups, this finding presents a major opportunity for the development of various composite materials that can act as active components in regenerative applications such as skin regeneration.