Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 2405–2415 | Cite as

Aluminum doped carbon nanodots as potent adjuvants on the mammalian macrophages

  • Furkan AyazEmail author
  • Melis Özge Alaş
  • Melike Oğuz
  • Rükan GençEmail author
Original Article


In this manuscript, we aimed to report the synthesis of aluminum (Al) incorporated carbon nanodots (CD) and their activities on the immune cells. A green synthesis method involving the in situ doping of the nanodot was conducted. Synthesized nanodots immunomodulatory and immunostimulatory activities were tested in vitro on the macrophages. The produced carbon dots were water-soluble, fluorescent and monodispersed, with an average diameter of around 10–20 nm. After Al-doping, their surface properties, stability, crystallinity, as well as their fluorescent and optical properties were evaluated. These Al-CDs displayed no cytotoxicity and enhanced the pro-inflammatory activities of the mammalian macrophages with much lower aluminum concentrations (‰ 20) compared to that of conventional aluminum salt, by virtue of which they have the potential to serve as safe and effective adjuvant carrier. The stability of the nanocarriers was found to be persistent for over 3 months at room temperature with no significant formation of the aggregates. These results support the promise of such nanodots as the new generation non-toxic adjuvant candidates.

Graphical abstract

Al incorporation changed the activity of carbon nanodot (CD). Plain CD did not have major affect on the inflammatory function of macrophages. Al incorporated CD was able to stimulate the macrophages in the absence of danger stimulus which supports its adjuvant potential. Compared to the Al salt as a control Al-CD was more potent even with ‰ 20 Al concentration on the inflammatory activity of the macropahges in vitro.


Carbon nanodots Aluminum doped nanomaterials Inflammation Macrophage Adjuvants 



Carbon nanodot




Tumor nacrosis factor-α


Interleukin 6


Interleukin 1β

RAW 264.7

Mouse macrophage cell line


Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay





This study was supported by 2017-2-AP-4-2506 BAP Project of Mersin University. Our group greatly appreciates the material support of Prof. Dr. Juan Anguita from CICBiogune.


This study was supported by 2017-2-AP-4-2506 BAP Project of Mersin University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial and non-financial interest.

Ethical approval

No ethical consent was required for this type of study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Arts and ScienceMersin UniversityMersinTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringMersin UniversityMersinTurkey

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