Nanoscale, 2023, published online []

Delivery of graphene oxide nanosheets modulates glutamate release and normalizes amygdala synaptic plasticity to improve anxiety-related behavior

Elisa Pati, Audrey Franceschi Biagioni, Raffaele Casani, Neus Lozano, Kostas Kostarelos, Giada Cellot*, Laura Ballerini*

Graphene oxide nanosheets (GO) were reported to alter neurobiological processes involving cell membrane dynamics. GO ability to reversibly downregulate specifically glutamatergic synapses underpins their potential in future neurotherapeutic developments. Aberrant glutamate plasticity contributes to stress-related psychopathology and drugs which target dysregulated glutamate represent promising treatments. We find that in a rat model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a single injection of GO to the lateral amygdala following the stressful event induced PTSD-related behavior remission and reduced dendritic spine densities. We explored from a mechanistic perspective how GO could impair glutamate synaptic plasticity. By simultaneous patch clamp pair recordings of unitary synaptic currents, live-imaging of presynaptic vesicle release and confocal microscopy, we report that GO nanosheets altered the probability of release enhancing the extinction of synaptic plasticity in the amygdala. These findings show that the modulation of presynaptic glutamate release might represent an unexplored target for (nano)pharmacological interventions of stress-related disorders.