ZIF-8 Degrades in Cell Media, Serum, and Some—but Not All—Common Laboratory Buffers



Drug delivery using metal-organic frameworks (MOF) has elicited interest in their biocompatibility; however, few studies have been conducted on their stability in common buffers, cell media, and blood proteins. In particular, the use of ZIF-8, a MOF interconnected by Zn and methylimidazole, has been frequently employed. In this study, we tested single crystals of ZIF-8 with common laboratory buffers, cell media, and serum, and noted several issues. Buffers containing phosphate and bicarbonate alter the appearance and composition of ZIF-8; however, these buffers do not appear to cause cargo to leak out even when the ZIF-8 itself is displaced by phosphates. On the other hand, serum dissolves ZIF-8, causing premature cargo release. Our results show that ZIF-8 undergoes surface chemistry changes that may affect the interpretation of cellular uptake and cargo release data. On the other hand, it provides a rational explanation as to how ZIF-8 neatly dissolves in vivo. ©2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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Biocompatibility, Imidazoles (Zeolitic), Zinc, Methylimidazole, ZIF-8


National Science Foundation [ACS-PRF 57627-DNI10]; Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas [RP170752]; National Institutes of Health [1R21AI140462]; American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund [57627-DNI10]; Welch Foundation [AT-1989-20190330]; Division of Materials Research [DMR1654405].


©2019 Informa UK Ltd.