Graphene oxide-induced neurotoxicity on neurotransmitters, AFD neurons and locomotive behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans

Mina Kim, Hyun Jeong Eom, Inhee Choi, Jongki Hong, Jinhee Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Graphene oxide (GO) and graphene-based nanomaterials have been widely applied in recent years, but their potential health risk and neurotoxic potentials remain poorly understood. In this study, neurotoxic potential of GO and its underlying molecular and cellular mechanism were investigated using the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Deposition of GO in the head region and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) was observed in C. elegans after exposure to GO. The neurotoxic potential of GO was then investigated, focusing on neurotransmitters contents and neuronal activity using AFD sensory neurons. The contents of all neurotransmitters, such as, tyrosine, tryptophan, dopamine, tyramine, and GABA, decreased significantly by GO exposure. Decreased fluorescence of Pgcy-8:GFP, a marker of AFD sensory neuron, by GO exposure suggested GO could cause neuronal damage on AFD neuron. GO exposure led decreased expression of ttx-1 and ceh-14, genes required for the function of AFD neurons also confirmed possible detrimental effect of GO to AFD neuron. To understand physiological meaning of AFD neuronal damage by GO exposure, locomotive behavior was then investigated in wild-type as well as in loss-of-function mutants of ttx-1 and ceh-14. GO exposure significantly altered locomotor behavior markers, such as, speed, acceleration, stop time, etc., in wild-type C. elegans, which were mostly rescued in AFD neuron mutants. The present study suggested the GO possesses neurotoxic potential, especially on neurotransmitters and AFD neuron in C. elegans. These findings provide useful information to understand the neurotoxic potential of GO and other graphene-based nanomaterials, which will guide their safe application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • AFD
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Graphene oxide
  • Locomotive behavior
  • Neurons
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Neurotransmitters


Dive into the research topics of 'Graphene oxide-induced neurotoxicity on neurotransmitters, AFD neurons and locomotive behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this