Journal of ocular pharmacology and therapeutics : the official journal of the Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Development of an experimental model of proliferative retinopathy by intravitreal injection of VEGF165.

PMID 25029288


To develop an experimental model of proliferative retinopathy by intravitreal injection of vascular endothelial growth factor 165 (VEGF165) in pigmented rabbits. A prospective, controlled, comparative intervention study. Six pigmented rabbits (Chinchilla breed) were subjected to intravitreal injection of VEGF165 in their right eye. The left eye was used as control and received an injection of balanced salt solution. In group 1, 3 rabbits received a 10-μg injection, and in group 2, 3 rabbits received a 20-μg injection. At baseline, all subjects were analyzed by anterior biomicroscopy, retinography, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) fundus images. Biomicroscopy and all ancillary examinations were repeated at weeks 1, 2, and 5. In the fifth week after the injection, the rabbits were euthanized and the eyes were enucleated and subjected to histological evaluation. Seven days after the intravitreal VEGF165 injection, all rabbits developed intense neovascularization of the retina and anterior segment. Neovascularization of the posterior pole was similar in both groups, and the anterior segment was more florid in group 2. At weeks 1 and 2, neovascularization persisted with a minor decrease in conjunctival hyperemia in both groups. At week 5, there was a partial regression of neovascularization of the posterior pole, which was more prominent in group 1 than group 2, with persistent anterior neovascularization in both groups. OCT showed a statistically significant increase in retinal thickness, hyaloid detachment, and tractional retinal detachment. After the 5-week period, ocular histopathological evaluation showed an increase in retinal thickness, hyaloid detachment, and intense neovascularization in both groups, especially group 2. This pilot study of a neovascularization model using intravitreal injection of VEGF165 in pigmented rabbits showed that both doses of 10 and 20 μg were successful and effective in inducing vascular growth in the retina and anterior segment and can therefore be used for evaluating drug efficacy in future studies.