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Jae Hwan Jung, Patcharin Desit, Mark R. Prausnitz; Targeted Drug Delivery in the Suprachoroidal Space by Swollen Hydrogel Pushing. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(5):2069-2079. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23758.
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The purpose is to target model drug particles to the posterior region of the suprachoroidal space (SCS) of the eye controlled via pushing by hydrogel swelling.
A particle formulation containing 1% hyaluronic acid (HA) with fluorescent polymer particles and a hydrogel formulation containing 4% HA were introduced in a single syringe as two layers without mixing, and injected sequentially into the SCS of the rabbit eye ex vivo and in vivo using a microneedle. Distribution of particles in the eye was determined by microscopy.
During injection, the particle formulation was pushed toward the middle of the SCS by the viscous hydrogel formulation, but less than 12% of particles reached the posterior SCS. After injection, the particle formulation was pushed further toward the macula and optic nerve in the posterior SCS by hydrogel swelling and spreading. Heating the eye to 37°C, or injecting in vivo decreased viscosity and mechanical strength of the hydrogel, thereby allowing it to swell and flow further in the SCS. A high salt concentration (9% NaCl) in the hydrogel formulation further increased hydrogel swelling due to osmotic flow into the hydrogel. In this way, up to 76% of particles were delivered to the posterior SCS from an injection made near the limbus.
This study shows that model drug particles can be targeted to the posterior SCS by HA hydrogel swelling and pushing without particle functionalization or administering external driving forces.
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