Research Highlight

Graphene helps grow new blood vessels

doi:10.1038/nindia.2015.104 Published online 18 August 2015

Researchers have discovered that graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide could help grow new blood vessels, making them potentially useful for treating cardiovascular diseases and healing wounds1.

New blood vessels form through a process known as angiogenesis. In this process, endothelial cells that form the linings of blood vessels proliferate, migrate and generate new blood vessels.To investigate the potential of graphene oxide and its reduced form to produce blood vessels, the researchers incubated graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide with human endothelial cells for 24 hours.

They found that, below a concentration of 100 nanograms per millilitre, the graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide induced the proliferation of endothelial cells, whereas above this concentration, they inhibited the proliferation of endothelial cells.

The scientists then incubated chick embryos with the graphene oxides for 8 hours. The graphene oxides aided the formation of mature blood vessels in the embryos. In addition, the graphene oxides healed wounds and triggered the growth of new blood vessels by generating reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide ions.

“The graphene oxides could be useful for growing new blood vessels in blood-starved tissues and bone regeneration, whereas at higher concentrations the same materials could kill cancer cells by blocking blood vessel formation,” says Chitta Ranjan Patra, one of the researchers.


1. Mukherjee, S. et al. Graphene oxides show angiogenic properties. Adv. Healthc. Mater. 4, 1722–1732 (2015).