A multicomponent material designed to prevent blood clotting is reported in Nature Communications this week. This graphene-based material could potentially be used as a coating for blood-contacting biomedical devices and tubes, such as those used for dialysis.
Blood clotting on biomedical devices may inhibit their performance but can be limited in the presence of nitroxyls, small molecules with anti-clotting properties. Nitroxyls can be produced by oxidation of arginine, a chemical commonly found in the blood, with hydrogen peroxide. Yu Huang and colleagues show that a composite material, consisting of hemin molecules and glucose oxidase enzymes anchored onto graphene, is capable of generating hydrogen peroxide from blood sugar and then using it to convert arginine to nitroxyls. This material is thus able to produce nitroxyls from blood without the addition of any additional chemicals. In a proof-of-concept study, they show that blood clotting on a plastic film coated with their material is substantially reduced and remains so even after three days.