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Investigative ophthalmology & visual science

Feasibility of drug delivery to the posterior pole of the rabbit eye with an episcleral implant.


PMID 14691179

Abstract

To evaluate the feasibility of a nonbiodegradable polymeric episcleral implant as a new controlled intraocular delivery system of betamethasone (BM) to the posterior pole of the eye. The episcleral implant, which is composed of a drug-releasing component and a suture tag, released BM through an ethylene vinyl acetate membrane. The implants were placed on the sclera in 12 eyes of 12 Japanese white rabbits so that the drug-releasing surface could attach to the sclera at the posterior pole. BM concentrations in the aqueous humor, vitreous, and retina-choroid (posterior half and anterior half) were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) at weeks 1, 2, and 4 after implantation. In addition, the intraocular tissue distribution of the drug was evaluated by fluorescein microscopy after implantation of the implant loaded with 6-carboxy fluorescein diacetate (6-CFDA) as a drug marker. Retinal toxicity was evaluated by electroretinography and histologic examination. The implant showed zero-order release profiles both in vitro and in vivo for 4 weeks. BM concentrations in the retina-choroid after implantation were maintained above the concentrations effective for suppressing inflammatory reactions for at least 4 weeks. The BM concentration was greater in the posterior half of the retina-choroid than in the vitreous. It was confirmed that 6-CFDA penetrated through the sclera and dispersed into the retina-choroid. Fluorescence from 6-CFDA gradually decreased in intensity with increased distance from the implantation site. Electroretinography and histologic study showed no substantial toxic reactions. These findings suggest that the episcleral implant may be a useful drug carrier for intraocular delivery of BM, especially for the posterior part of the eye.

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