Molecules. 2022 May 18;27(10):3240. doi: 10.3390/molecules27103240.
Zeolite imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) is a promising platform for drug delivery, and information regarding the stability of ZIF-8 nanoparticles in cell culture media is essential for proper interpretation of in vitro experimental results. In this work, we report a quantitative investigation of the ZIF-8 nanoparticle’s stability in most common cell culture media. To this purpose, ZIF-8 nanoparticles containing sterically shielded nitroxide probes with high resistance to reduction were synthesized and studied using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). The degradation of ZIF-8 in cell media was monitored by tracking the cargo leakage. It was shown that nanoparticles degrade at least partially in all studied media, although the degree of cargo leakage varies widely. We found a strong correlation between the amount of escaped cargo and total concentration of amino acids in the environment. We also established the role of individual amino acids in ZIF-8 degradation. Finally, 2-methylimidazole preliminary dissolved in cell culture media partially inhibits the degradation of ZIF-8 nanoparticles. The guidelines for choosing the proper cell culture medium for the in vitro study of ZIF-8 nanoparticles have been formulated.