Particle-Stabilized Emulsion Droplets for Gravity-Mediated Targeting in the Posterior Segment of the Eye


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Abstract

This study tests the hypothesis that high-density particle-stabilized emulsion droplets (PEDs) can be designed to use gravity to target specific locations in the eye via suprachoroidal space injection. PEDs contain a core of high-density perfluorodecalin measuring ≤35 μm in diameter surrounded and stabilized by fluorescein-tagged, polystyrene nanoparticles that simulate polymeric drug carriers. A hollow microneedle infuses PEDs into the suprachoroidal space of rabbit eyes in vivo, which are later dissected and imaged to quantify distribution of fluorescent nanoparticles within the suprachoroidal space. With cornea oriented upward, such that gravity should move PEDs toward the back of the eye, up to 50% of nanoparticles are in the most posterior quadrant near the macula immediately after injection and 5 d later. With cornea oriented downward, to promote PED movement toward the front of the eye, approximately 60% of injected nanoparticles are targeted to the most anterior quadrant of the posterior segment near ciliary body. Injection of approximately neutral-density particles of the same size shows approximately equal distribution throughout the posterior segment. This study demonstrates for the first time that high-density PEDs can be used to deliver nanoparticles to specific locations in the back of the eye, including targeted delivery to the macula.

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