Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Pristine graphene induces innate immune training

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-06, 11:47 authored by Filipa Lebre, John B Boland, Pedro Jose Gouveia, Aoife L Gorman, Mimmi LE Lundahl, Roisin I Lynch, Fergal O'BrienFergal O'Brien, Jonathan Coleman, Ed C Lavelle
Graphene-based materials are of increasing interest for their potential use in biomedical applications. However, there is a need to gain a deeper understanding of how graphene modulates biological responses before moving towards clinical application. Innate immune training is a recently described phenomenon whereby cells of the innate immune system are capable of being programmed to generate an increased non-specific response upon subsequent challenge. This has been well established in the case of certain microbes and microbial products. However, little is known about the capacity of particulate materials, such as pristine graphene (pGr), to promote innate immune training. Here we report for the first time that while stimulation with pGr alone does not directly induce cytokine secretion by bone-marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs), it programs them for enhanced secretion of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNF-α) and a concomitant decrease in production of the regulatory cytokine, IL-10 after Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand stimulation. This capacity of pGr to program cells for enhanced inflammatory responses could be overcome if the nanomaterial is incorporated in a collagen matrix. Our findings thus demonstrate the potential of graphene to modulate innate immunity over long timescales and have implications for the design and biomedical use of pGr-based materials.


Science Foundation Ireland Investigator Award 12/1A/1421

SFI Research Centre, Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) under Grant number SFI/12/RC/2278.



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Lebre F , Boland JB , Gouveia P , Gorman AL , Lundahl MLE , Lynch RI , O'Brien FJ , Coleman J , Lavelle EC . Pristine graphene induces innate immune training. Nanoscale. 2020;12(20):11192-11200.

Publication Date

6 May 2020

PubMed ID



  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine

Research Area

  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine
  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation


Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)

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