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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 890246, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/890246
Review Article

Graphene: One Material, Many Possibilities—Application Difficulties in Biological Systems

Department of General & Experimental Pathology with Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology (CEPT), Medical University of Warsaw, Pawińskiego 3C, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland

Received 15 October 2014; Accepted 6 November 2014; Published 30 November 2014

Academic Editor: Chunyi Zhi

Copyright © 2014 Marta Skoda 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.

Abstract

Energetic technologies, nanoelectronics, biomedicine including gene therapy, cell imaging or tissue engineering are only few from all possible applications for graphene, the thinnest known carbon configuration and a basic element for other more complicated, better discovered and widely used nanostructures such as graphite, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. The number of researches concerning graphene applications is rising every day which proves the great interest in its unique structure and properties. Ideal pristine graphene sheet presents a flat membrane of unlimited size with no imperfections while in practice we get different flakes with irregular edges and structural defects which influence the reactivity. Nanomaterials from graphene family differ in size, shape, layer number, lateral dimension, surface chemistry and defect density causing the existence of graphene samples with various influence on biological systems. Whether graphene induces cellular stress and activates apoptosis, or on the contrary facilitates growth and differentiation of the cells depends on its structure, chemical modifications and the growth process. A certain number of in vitro studies has indicated cytotoxic effects of graphene while the other show that it is safe. The diversity of the samples and methods of the production make it impossible to establish clearly the biological impact of graphene.