Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Cytotoxicity of 2D engineered nanomaterials in pulmonary and corneal epithelium.


Two-dimensional (2D) engineered nanomaterials are widely used in consumer and industrial goods due to their unique chemical and physical characteristics. Engineered nanomaterials are incredibly small and capable of being aerosolized during manufacturing, with the potential for biological interaction at first-contact sites such as the eye and lung. The unique properties of 2D nanomaterials that make them of interest to many industries may also cause toxicity towards epithelial cells. Using murine and human respiratory epithelial cell culture models, we tested the cytotoxicity of eight 2D engineered nanomaterials: graphene (110 nm), graphene oxide (2 um), graphene oxide (400 nm), reduced graphene oxide (2 um), reduced graphene oxide (400 nm), partially reduced graphene oxide (400 nm), molybdenum disulfide (400 nm), and hexagonal boron nitride (150 nm). Non-graphene nanomaterials were also tested in human corneal epithelial cells for ocular epithelial cytotoxicity. Hexagonal boron nitride was found to be cytotoxic in mouse tracheal, human alveolar, and human corneal epithelial cells. Hexagonal boron nitride was also tested for inhibition of wound healing in alveolar epithelial cells; no inhibition was seen at sub-cytotoxic doses. Nanomaterials should be considered with care before use, due to specific regional cytotoxicity that also varies by cell type. Supported by U01ES027288 and T32HL007013 and T32ES007059.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View