Ultrasonographical assessment of implanted biodegradable device for long-term slow release of methotrexate into the vitreous

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Abstract

Our group has developed a biodegradable drug delivery device (micro-implant) for long-term slow intraocular release of methotrexate (MTX) that can be implanted in the peripheral vitreous. The purpose of this study was to assess the position of the implanted devices and the status of the adjacent vitreous and peripheral retina over time using B-scan ocular ultrasonography (US). In each of the eight New Zealand rabbits used in this study, a chitosan (CS) and poly-lactic acid (PLA)-based micro-implant containing approximately 400 μg of MTX and a placebo micro-implant without MTX were inserted into the peripheral vitreous of the right and left eyes, respective, employing minimally invasive surgery. B-scan US imaging was performed on all of the rabbits immediately after implant insertion and on two rabbits at each of several pre-determined time points post-insertion (post-insertion days 5, 12, 19, and 33) to evaluate the position of the micro-implants and identify any evident morphological changes in the micro-implants and in the peripheral retina and vitreous during treatment. US imaging revealed stable positioning of the PLA-coated CS-based MTX micro-implant and the placebo micro-implant in the respective eyes throughout the study and lack of any changes in size, shape or sonoreflectivity of the micro-implants or abnormalities of the peripheral vitreous or retina in any of the study eyes. In summary, US did not show any evident morphological changes in the micro-implants, shifts in post-insertion position of the micro-implants, or identifiable changes in the micro-implants or peripheral vitreous and retina of the study eyes.

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