Highly catalytically active niobium carbide (MXene) promotes hematopoietic recovery after radiation through free radical scavenging

Ionizing radiation (IR) is widely used in industry and radiotherapy, but nuclear or radiological accidents have seriously endangered the health of related personnel, and inevitably bring some injuries in radiotherapy. In this work, ultra-thin two-dimensional (2D) niobium carbide (Nb2C) MXene was developed as a radiation protection agent and applied to remove oxygen radicals induced by ionizing radiation. The 2D Nb2C MXene material shows useful antioxidant properties, which can effectively eliminate hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radical (•OH), and superoxide radicals (O2•-). Pre-treated with biocompatible polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), the obtained functionalized Nb2C nanosheets (Nb2C-PVP NSs) significantly reduced the IR-induced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in enhanced cell activity in vitro. Single intravenous injection of Nb2C-PVP significantly improved the survival rate of mice, and the survival rate of mice irradiated with lethal dose gamma rays was 81.5%.

Moreover, Nb2C-PVP restored the function of the hematopoietic system in irradiated mice. It is worth mentioning that Nb2C-PVP was almost eliminated from the mice after 14 days of treatment, and no apparent toxicity was observed after 30 days of treatment. This research pioneered the application of the inherent radiation protection properties of two-dimensional MXene materials in vivo.

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