Researchers from Seoul National University have examined graphene quantum dots' (GQDs') efficiency as anti-inflammatory therapy for colitis. The team speculated that graphene quantum dots may be suitable for treating intestinal bowel diseases (IBDs) because of their low toxicity in vivo and ease of clearance.

In their study, GQDs were intraperitoneally injected to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)–induced chronic and acute colitis model, and its efficacy has been confirmed. In particular, GQDs effectively prevented tissue degeneration and ameliorated intestinal inflammation.

Moreover, GQDs switched the polarization of macrophages from classically activated M1 to M2 and enhanced intestinal infiltration of regulatory T cells (Tregs). Therefore, GQDs effectively attenuated excessive inflammation by regulating immune cells, indicating that they can be used as promising alternative therapeutic agents for the treatment of autoimmune disorders, including IBDs.

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