Zirconium-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks for the Removal of Protein-Bound Uremic Toxin from Human Serum Albumin

Satoshi Kato, Ken Ichi Otake, Haoyuan Chen, Isil Akpinar, Cassandra T. Buru, Timur Islamoglu, Randall Q. Snurr, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Uremic toxins often accumulate in patients with compromised kidney function, like those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), leading to major clinical complications including serious illness and death. Sufficient removal of these toxins from the blood increases the efficacy of hemodialysis, as well as the survival rate, in CKD patients. Understanding the interactions between an adsorbent and the uremic toxins is critical for designing effective materials to remove these toxic compounds. Herein, we study the adsorption behavior of the uremic toxins, p-cresyl sulfate, indoxyl sulfate, and hippuric acid, in a series of zirconium-based metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The pyrene-based MOF, NU-1000, offers the highest toxin removal efficiency of all the MOFs in this study. Other Zr-based MOFs possessing comparable surface areas and pore sizes to NU-1000 while lacking an extended aromatic system have much lower toxin removal efficiency. From single-crystal X-ray diffraction analyses assisted by density functional theory calculations, we determined that the high adsorption capacity of NU-1000 can be attributed to the highly hydrophobic adsorption sites sandwiched by two pyrene linkers and the hydroxyls and water molecules on the Zr 6 nodes, which are capable of hydrogen bonding with polar functional groups of guest molecules. Further, NU-1000 almost completely removes p-cresyl sulfate from human serum albumin, a protein that these uremic toxins bind to in the body. These results offer design principles for potential MOFs candidates for uremic toxin removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2568-2576
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 13 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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