Document Type


Publication Date



Statler College of Engineering and Mining Resources


Chemical and Biomedical Engineering


Introduction: The flexibility and tunability of metal organic frameworks (MOFs), crystal- line porous materials composed of a network of metal ions coordinated by organic ligands, confer their variety of applications as drug delivery systems or as sensing and imaging agents. However, such properties also add to the difficulty in ensuring their safe implementa- tion when interaction with biological systems is considered.

Methods: In the current study, we used real-time sensorial strategies and cellular-based approaches to allow for fast and effective screening of two MOFs of prevalent use, namely, MIL-160 representative of a hydrophilic and ZIF-8 representative of a hydrophobic frame- work. The two MOFs were synthesized “in house” and exposed to human bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells, a pertinent toxicological screening model.

Results: Analysis allowed evaluation and differentiation of particle-induced cellular effects as well identification of different degrees and routes of toxicity, all in a high-throughput manner. Our results show the importance of performing screening toxicity assessments before introducing MOFs to biomedical applications.

Discussion: Our proposed screening assays could be extended to a wider variety of cell lines to allow for identification of any deleterious effects of MOFs, with the range of toxic mechanisms to be differentiated based on cell viability, morphology and cell–substrate interactions, respectively.

Conclusion: Our analysis highlights the importance of considering the physicochemical properties of MOFs when recommending a MOF-based therapeutic option or MOFs imple- mentation in biomedical applications.

Source Citation

Wagner, A., Liu, Q., Rose, O. L., Eden, A., Vijay, A., Rojanasakul, Y., & Dinu, C. Z. (2019).

Toxicity screening of two prevalent metal organic frameworks for therapeutic use in human lung epithelial cells

. International Journal of Nanomedicine, Volume 14, 7583–7591.


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