Cutaneous and ocular toxicology

Intravitreal bevacizumab effects on VEGF levels in distant organs: an experimental study.

PMID 24228870


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of single-dose intravitreal bevacizumab on the levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in serum and distant organs. Adult New Zealand albino rabbits (n = 40) were divided into experimental and control groups. Experimental rabbits received a single 0.05 ml intravitreal injection of 1.25 mg bevacizumab (Avastin) into the right eye, and control rabbits (n = 8) received no injection. Following injection, group 1 rabbits (n = 8) were sacrificed on day 1, group 2 rabbits (n = 8) on day 7, group 3 rabbits (n = 8) on day 14, and group 4 rabbits (n = 8) on day 28; control rabbits were sacrificed on day 28. After sacrifice, samples of brain, heart, liver, kidney and blood were collected. Levels of VEGF in serum and tissue were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The presence of bevacizumab was evaluated by immunofluorescence staining in tissues. Positive bevacizumab immunoreactivity was observed in brain, heart and kidney. Serum VEGF levels significantly decreased in groups 3 and 4 compared with controls (p < 0.05). Liver VEGF levels significantly decreased in group 3 compared with controls (p < 0.05). Intravitreal bevacizumab not only may escape from the blood-retinal barrier and enter the general circulation, but also may be disseminated to distant organs. Our study demonstrates that a single dose of intravitreally injected bevacizumab decreases VEGF levels in serum and liver.