Fabrication and Characterization of a Biomaterial Based on Extracellular-Vesicle Functionalized Graphene Oxide

Julia Driscoll, Anuradha Moirangthem, Irene K. Yan, Tushar Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) derived extracellular vesicles (EV) are emerging as acellular therapeutics for solid organ injury and as carriers for drug delivery. Graphene-based materials are novel two-dimensional crystal structure-based materials with unique characteristics of stiffness, strength and elasticity that are being explored for various structural and biological applications. We fabricated a biomaterial that would capture desirable properties of both graphene and stem cell derived EV. Metabolically engineered EV that express azide groups were cross-linked with alkyne-functionalized graphene oxide (GO) via a copper catalyzed alkyne-azide cycloaddition (CuAAC) reaction. The crosslinking between EV and GO was accomplished without the need for ligand expression on the metal. Scanning electron and fluorescence microscopy demonstrated excellent cross-linking between EV and GO. Biological effects were assessed by phagocytosis studies and cell viability studies. The uptake of GO or sonicated GO (sGO) resulted in a durable pro-inflammatory immune response. Cell studies further showed that crosslinked GO-EV scaffolds exhibited cell-type dependent cytotoxicity on liver cancer cells whereas there was minimal impact on healthy hepatocyte proliferation. In vitro, neither GO-EV nor sGO-EV induced DNA strand breaks. In vivo studies in zebrafish revealed gross developmental malformations but treatment-induced mortality was only seen with the highest doses of GO-EV and sGO-EV. With these advantages, this engineered biomaterial combining the versatility of graphene with the therapeutic effects of MSC-EV has potential for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number686510
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
StatePublished - Jun 9 2021


  • biomaterials
  • extracellular vesicles
  • graphene
  • therapeutics
  • toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Fabrication and Characterization of a Biomaterial Based on Extracellular-Vesicle Functionalized Graphene Oxide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this