Biodegradable Thermosensitive PLGA-PEG-PLGA Polymer for Non-irritating and Sustained Ophthalmic Drug Delivery
Challenges of ophthalmic drug delivery arise from not only the limited solubility of hydrophobic therapeutics, but also the restricted permeability and fast clearance of drugs due to the complex anatomy and physiology of the eyes. Biodegradable thermosensitive polymer, poly(dl-lactide-co-glycolide-b–ethylene glycol-b-dl-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA-PEG-PLGA) is a desirable ophthalmic drug delivery system because it can be formulated into injectable solution which forms gel in situ to provide prolonged drug release. In this study, excellent biocompatibility of blank PLGA-PEG-PLGA (1800-1500-1800) thermogel was demonstrated with insignificant difference from saline noted in rat eye enucleation test, in vivo inflammation test upon topical instillation, and subconjunctival injection. After subconjunctival injection, thermogel formulations loaded with hydrophilic (rhodamine B) or hydrophobic (coumarin 6) fluorescent dyes were retained up to 4 weeks in eye tissues and significantly higher level was detected than rhodamine B solution or coumarin 6 suspension in weeks 3 and 4. Moreover, in vivo whole body imaging showed that dye-loaded (sulfo-cyanine 7 NHS ester, Cy7; or cyanine 7.5 alkyne, Cy7.5) thermogels had longer retention at the injection site and retarded release to other body parts than dye solutions. Generally, the release rate of hydrophobic dyes (coumarin 6 and Cy7.5) was much slower than that of the hydrophilic dyes (rhodamine B and Cy7) from the thermogel. In summary, the thermogel was safe for ophthalmic drug delivery and could deliver both hydrophobic and hydrophilic compounds for sustained drug release into eye tissues with single subconjunctival injection for better patient compliance and reduced risks on repeated injection.
KEY WORDSbiocompatibility in situ thermosensitive hydrogel ocular delivery PLGA-PEG-PLGA subconjunctival injection
P.S. Chan and Q. Li were supported by postgraduate studentships provided by The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Substantial contribution by Prof. Thomas Lee in terms of conception of research idea, experimental design, and funding support is greatly acknowledged. Also, precious discussion with Prof. Albert H.L. Chow and Prof. Vincent H.L. Lee is gratefully acknowledged.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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