Graphene oxide promotes the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells to dopamine neurons

Dehua Yang, Ting Li, Minghan Xu, Feng Gao, Juan Yang, Zhi Yang, Weidong Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Aim: Nanoparticles are easier to pass through cell membranes, and they are considered to be the ideal biocompatible and mechanically stable platforms for supporting stem cell growth and differentiation. The aim of this study is to determine the effects of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene oxide (GO) and graphene (GR) on the dopamine neural differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Materials & methods: GO was prepared according to a modified Hummers method. GR was synthesized by reduction of GO via L-ascorbic acid as a reductant in an aqueous solution at room temperature. CNTs were fabricated by chemical vapor deposition method. ESCs were differentiated by a stromal cell-derived inducing activity (SDIA) method after 10 days coculture with PA6 cells. The dopamine neural differentiation of the ESCs-GFP was examined by immunocytochemistry and real-time PCR. Results: We found that only GO could effectively promote dopamine neuron differentiation after induction of SDIA and further enhance dopamine neuron-related gene expression compared with cells treated with no nanoparticle control, and the other two nanoparticles (CNTs and GR). Conclusion: These findings suggest that GO is a promising nanomaterial-based technical platform to effectively enhance dopamine neural differentiation of ESCs, which can be potentially applied for cell transplantation therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2445-2455
Number of pages11
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • carbon nanotubes
  • differentiation
  • dopamine neurons
  • embryonic stem cells
  • graphene
  • graphene oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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