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Evan A. Thackaberry, Cindy Farman, Fiona Zhong, Florence Lorget, Karin Staflin, Angelique Cercillieux, Paul E. Miller, Chris Schuetz, Debby Chang, Amin Famili, Ann L. Daugherty, Karthik Rajagopal, Vladimir Bantseev; Evaluation of the Toxicity of Intravitreally Injected PLGA Microspheres and Rods in Monkeys and Rabbits: Effects of Depot Size on Inflammatory Response. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(10):4274-4285. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-21334.
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Poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) inserts have been successfully developed for the treatment of posterior eye disease as a means of reducing injection frequency of intravitreally administered therapeutics. PLGA microspheres are also of interest for the delivery of intravitreal drugs, since they offer the advantage of being easily injected without surgical procedures or large injectors.
In the current study, the toxicity of PLGA microspheres and rods was investigated in nonhuman primates (NHPs) and rabbits. An in vitro assessment of cytokine responses to PLGA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and macrophages was also performed.
Intravitreal administration of 3, 10, or 12.5 mg/eye of PLGA microspheres in NHPs resulted in a severe immune response characterized by a foreign body response. Follow-up studies in the rabbit confirmed this finding for PLGA microspheres ranging in size from 20 to 100 μm. In contrast, administration of PLGA rod implants with a similar PLGA mass did not elicit a significant immune response. In vitro assays in PBMCs and macrophages confirmed proinflammatory cytokine release upon treatment with PLGA microspheres but not PLGA rods.
These data demonstrate a lack of tolerability of PLGA microspheres upon intravitreal injection, and suggest that the size, shape, and/or surface area of PLGA depots are critical attributes in determining ocular toxicity.
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