Last year I was quite intrigued when I learned that cosmetics containing fullerenes are actually already on the market, so when I noticed this paper, I decided to look it over. Everyone has heard of "bucky balls," an allotropic form of carbon named after the architect famous for building geodesic dome structures. Incorporation of C60 into skin creams has been the subject of much debate; while known to be quite stable, only a handful of biological studies exist and some of them hint at the possible toxicity of fullerenes.
Interestingly, this recent study from Ryan and coworkers in the Journal of Immunology indicates that polyhydroxy C60 and N-ethylpolyamine C60 (water soluble "bucky balls") are capable of inhibiting the allergic response of human mast cells and peripheral blood basophils. Even though the electrons of C60 are not fully delocalized throughout the entire molecule, fullerenes have long been known to be radical sponges, and it is believed that this contributes to their negative regulation of the allergic response. Mice injected with up to 250ng of fullerene showed no adverse affects, and the authors demonstrate that the concentration needed to inhibit anaphylaxis in mice is 400,000-fold lower than the dose that has been shown to be toxic in vivo. As C60 is believed to reduce cellular ROS levels, it has been proposed that its antioxidant effects might be useful in the treatment of neuordegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease.
Me?? I'm just waiting for B80.