A new research has shown that graphene is able to act on excitatory synapses and interfere with the development of anxiety-related behaviors. Carried out by SISSA International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste, Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) of Barcelona, and the National Graphene Institute of the University of Manchester, in the framework of the European Graphene Flagship project, the research has shown that graphene has the ability to interact with the functions of the nervous system in vertebrates in a very specific manner. The researchers say that the material interrupts the build-up of a pathological process that leads to anxiety-related behavior.
Study leader, Laura Ballerini of SISSA, explained that previous research has shown that when graphene flakes are delivered to neurons, they interfere spontaneously with excitatory synapses by transiently preventing glutamate release from presynaptic terminals. Ballerini said: We investigated whether such a reduction in synaptic activity was sufficient to modify related behaviors, in particular the pathological ones that develop due to a transient and localized hyper-function of excitatory synapses.