Author(s):Mezu-Ndubuisi OJ, Wang Y, Schoephoerster J, Falero-Perez J, Zaitoun IS, Sheibani N, Gong S. Intravitreal Delivery of VEGF-A(165)-loaded PLGA Microparticles Reduces Retinal Vaso-Obliteration in an In Vivo Mouse Model of Retinopathy of Prematurity. Curr Eye Res. 2019 Mar;44(3):275-286. doi: 10.1080/02713683.2018.1542736. Epub 2018 Nov 9.
Journal: Current Eye Research, Volume 44, Issue 3, Mar 2019
PURPOSE Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition of abnormal retinal vascularization with reduced levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) causing vaso-obliteration (Phase I), followed by abnormal neovascularization from increased VEGF (Phase II). We hypothesized that intravitreal pro-angiogenic VEGF-A in microparticle form would promote earlier retinal revascularization in an oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy (OIR) mouse model.
MATERIALS AND METHODS Wildtype mice (39) were exposed to 77% oxygen from postnatal day 7 (P7) to P12. VEGF-A165-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) (n = 15) or empty PLGA (n = 14) microparticles were fabricated using a water-in-oil-in-water double emulsion method, and injected intravitreally at P13 into mice right eyes (RE). Left eyes (LE) were untreated. At P20, after retinal fluorescein angiography, vascular parameters were quantified. Retinal VEGF levels at P13 and flatmounts at P20 were performed separately.
RESULTS VEGF-A165-loaded microparticles had a mean diameter of 4.2 μm. with a loading level of 8.6 weight.%. Retinal avascular area was reduced in VEGF-treated RE (39.5 ± 9.0%) compared to untreated LE (52.6 ± 6.1%, p < 0.0001) or empty microparticle-treated RE (p < 0.001) and untreated LEs (p = 0.001). Retinal arteries in VEGF-treated RE were less tortuous than untreated LE (1.08 ± 0.05 vs. 1.18 ± 0.08, p 0.05). Retinal vein width was similar in VEGF-treated and empty microparticle-treated RE (P > 0.9), which were each less dilated than their contralateral LE (p < 0.01). VEGF levels were higher in P13 OIR mice than RA mice (p < 0.0001). Retinal flatmounts showed vaso-obliteration and neovascularization.
CONCLUSIONS Endogenous retinal VEGF is suppressed in OIR mice. Exogenous intravitreal VEGF-A165-loaded microparticles in OIR mice reduced retinal vaso-obliteration and accelerated recovery from vein dilation and arterial tortuosity. This may be beneficial in preventing Phase II ROP without systemic effects.