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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 376756, 9 pages
Research Article

Pulmonary Responses of Sprague-Dawley Rats in Single Inhalation Exposure to Graphene Oxide Nanomaterials

1Toxicology Laboratory, College of Animal Bioscience and Technology, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea
2Institute of Nano Products Safety Research, Hoseo University, Asan 336-795, Republic of Korea
3Occupational Lung Diseases Institute, KCOMWEL, Incheon 403-711, Republic of Korea
4Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan 426-791, Republic of Korea
5Department of Chemical Engineering, Dong-a University, Busan 602-714, Republic of Korea
6Center for Nanosafety Metrology, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Daejeon 305-340, Republic of Korea

Received 16 March 2015; Revised 20 June 2015; Accepted 1 July 2015

Academic Editor: Antonio Salgado

Copyright © 2015 Sung Gu Han et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Graphene is receiving increased attention due to its potential widespread applications in future. However, the health effects of graphene have not yet been well studied. Therefore, this study examined the pulmonary effects of graphene oxide using male Sprague-Dawley rats and a single 6-hour nose-only inhalation technique. Following the exposure, the rats were allowed to recover for 1 day, 7 days, or 14 days. A total of three groups were compared: control (fresh air), low concentration ( mg/m3), and high concentration ( mg/m3). The exposure to graphene oxide did not induce significant changes in the body weights, organ weights, and food consumption during the 14 days of recovery time. The microalbumin and lactate dehydrogenase levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid were not significantly changed due to the exposure. Similarly, total cell count, macrophages, polymorphonuclear leukocytes, and lymphocytes were not significantly altered in the BAL fluid. Plus, the histopathological examination of the rat lungs only showed an uptake of graphene oxide in the alveolar macrophages of the high-concentration group. Therefore, these results demonstrate that the single inhalation exposure to graphene oxide induce minimal toxic responses in rat lungs at the concentrations and time points used in the present study.