Assessment of Genotoxicity Induced by Subchronic Exposure to Graphene in HaCaT Human Skin Cell Line
Garcia Carpintero Fernández Pacheco, Sonia
Jehova González, Viviana
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The applications of graphene-based materials (GBMs) and even their processing involve prolonged contact with cellular barriers such as human skin. Even though the potential cytotoxicity of graphene has been studied in recent years, the impact of long-term graphene exposure has rarely been explored. We tested in the HaCaT epithelial cells, in vitro, the effect of subchronic treatments with subletal doses of four different, well-characterized GBMs, two commercial graphene oxides (GO) and two few-layer graphenes (FLG). Cells were exposed weekly to low doses of the GBMs for 14 days, 30 days, 3 months, and 6 months. GBMs-cells uptake was assessed by confocal microscopy. Cell death and cell cycle were determined by fluorescence microscopy and cytometry, respectively. DNA damage was measured by comet assay and g-H2AX staining, followed by determination of p-p53 and p-ATR by immunolabeling. Subchronic exposure to different GBMs at non-cytotoxic doses has potential genotoxic effects on HaCaT epithelial cells, that can be recovered depending on the GBM and exposure time. Specifically, GO-induced genotoxicity can be detected after 14 and 30 days from treatment. At this time, FLG appears less genotoxic than GO, and cells can recover more easily when genotoxic pressure disappears after some days removal of the GBM. Long-term exposure, 3 and 6 months, to different GBMs induces permanent, non-reversible, genotoxic damage that is comparable than the exerted by arsenite. This should be considered for the production and future applications of GBMs in scenarios where low concentrations of the material interact chronically with epithelial barriers.