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  • Toxic effect of zinc nanoscale metal-organic frameworks on rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells <em>in vitro</em>

    Fei Ren   Baochun Yang   Jing Cai   Yaodong Jiang   Jun Xu   Shan Wang  

    Highlights • Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) represent a newborn family of hybrid materials. • MOFs have already shown promise in a number of biological applications. • The biological applications of MOFs raise concerns for potential cytotoxicity. • Substantial information about MOF's neurotoxicity is still quite scarce. • This study reveals for the first time the interaction of MOFs with neural cells. Abstract Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) possess unique properties desirable for delivery of drugs and gaseous therapeutics, but their uncharacterized interactions with cells raise increasing concerns of their safety in such biomedical applications. We evaluated the adverse effects of zinc nanoscale MOFs on the cell morphology, cytoskeleton, cell viability and expression of neurotrophin signaling pathway-associated GAP-43 protein in rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. At the concentration of 25 μg/ml, zinc MOFs did not significantly affect morphology, viability and membrane integrity of the cells. But at higher concentrations (over 100 μg/ml), MOFs exhibited a time- and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity, indicating their entry into the cells via endocytosis where they release Zn 2+ into the cytosol to cause increased intracellular concentration of Zn 2+ . We demonstrated that the toxicity of MOFs was associated with a disrupted cellular zinc homeostasis and down-regulation of GAP-43 protein, which might be the underlying mechanism for the improved differentiation in PC12 cells. These findings highlight the importance of cytotoxic evaluation of the MOFs before their biomedical application.
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