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Chau-Minh Phan, Wulff David, Piyush Garg, Lyndon William Jones; Developing a novel in vitro eye model using 3D bioprinting for drug delivery studies. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):1468.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To develop an in vitro eye model using a novel 3D bioprinting method for testing the release of ophthalmic formulations to the posterior ocular region.
The eye model was designed using CAD software and includes both an anterior aqueous chamber and a posterior vitreous chamber. The vitreous chamber is surrounded by a blood chamber to mimic vessels that can be used to transport a blood-like substance. Three inlet ports control the flow of fluid into the chambers and the blood channels, and the three outlet ports allow fluids to exit these compartments. The eye model was 3D printed on a commercial mSLA printer (Photon Mono X, AnyCubic), which was retrofitted with a humidity and temperature control module to create a printing environment at 37°C and >80% humidity. The bioink formulation consisted of 10% gelatin methacrylate (GelMa). After printing, the models were incubated at 37°C to remove any uncured GelMa within any hollow compartments. For this study, phosphate-buffered saline was used as an aqueous and vitreous humour mimic. To evaluate the diffusion of a small hydrophilic molecule on the eye model, a contact lens (Air Optix) was soaked with a water-soluble red food dye for 1 hour and then placed on the eye model. The amount of dye in the anterior chamber, posterior chamber, and blood channels was measured using UV spectrophotometry after 24 hours.
The entire model can be printed without any support structures within approximately 3 hours. The 3D printed eye model can also be autoclaved for testing that requires sterility. Because there were no diffusion barriers present in the current model, the red dye was detected in all three chambers after 24 hours. The highest concentration of dye was found in the anterior chamber, followed by the blood chamber and then the posterior chamber.
The prototype developed in this study can be used as a starting point to develop enhanced 3D printed eye models to test drug release kinetics of various devices and formulations. Future work will focus on adding the appropriate diffusion barriers to better simulate drug diffusion through ocular tissues.
This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.
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