A swarm of slippery micropropellers penetrates the vitreous body of the eye.
ABSTRACT: The intravitreal delivery of therapeutic agents promises major benefits in the field of ocular medicine. Traditional delivery methods rely on the random, passive diffusion of molecules, which do not allow for the rapid delivery of a concentrated cargo to a defined region at the posterior pole of the eye. The use of particles promises targeted delivery but faces the challenge that most tissues including the vitreous have a tight macromolecular matrix that acts as a barrier and prevents its penetration. Here, we demonstrate novel intravitreal delivery microvehicles-slippery micropropellers-that can be actively propelled through the vitreous humor to reach the retina. The propulsion is achieved by helical magnetic micropropellers that have a liquid layer coating to minimize adhesion to the surrounding biopolymeric network. The submicrometer diameter of the propellers enables the penetration of the biopolymeric network and the propulsion through the porcine vitreous body of the eye over centimeter distances. Clinical optical coherence tomography is used to monitor the movement of the propellers and confirm their arrival on the retina near the optic disc. Overcoming the adhesion forces and actively navigating a swarm of micropropellers in the dense vitreous humor promise practical applications in ophthalmology.
Project description:Current standard of care for sustained back of the eye drug delivery is surgical placement or injection of large, slow release implants using a relatively large 22 gauge needle. We designed novel dipeptide (phenylalanine-?,?-dehydrophenylalanine; Phe-?Phe) based nanotubes with a diameter of ~15-30 nm and a length of ~1500 nm that could be injected with a 33 gauge needle for sustained intravitreal delivery of pazopanib, a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor. The drug could be loaded during nanotube assembly or post-loaded after nanotube formation, with the former being more efficient at 25% w/w pazopanib loading and ~55% loading efficiency. Plain and peptide loaded nanotube were non-cytotoxic to retinal pigment epithelial cells even at a concentration of 200 ?g/ml. Following intravitreal injection of fluorescently labeled nanotubes using a 33 gauge needle in a rat model, the nanotube persistence and drug delivery were monitored using noninvasive fluorophotometry, electron microscopy and mass spectrometry analysis. Nanotubes persisted in the vitreous humor during the 15 days study and pazopanib levels in the vitreous humor, retina, and choroid-RPE at the end of the study were 4.5, 5, and 2.5-folds higher, respectively, compared to the plain drug. Thus, Phe-?Phe nanotubes allow intravitreal injections with a small gauge needle and sustain drug delivery.
Project description:Purpose:To investigate the intraocular distribution and kinetics of antibodies and nanoparticles in the experimental model. Methods:Antibodies (whole IgG 149kDa, antigen-binding fragments 48.39 kDa) and four kinds of nondegradable nanoparticles (25, 50, 200, and 250 nm) were intravitreally injected in the right eye of New Zealand white rabbits. The average optical density and concentration were used to measure intraocular distribution and kinetics. Results:After intravitreal injection, antibodies were distributed throughout the vitreous humor and eliminated gradually into anterior and posterior routes. Fluorescence intensity decreased 1 day after injection and was not detected 25 days after injection. The nondegradable nanoparticles migrated posteriorly to the retina 7 days after injection onward and anteriorly to the aqueous humor from 1 hour to 1 day after injection. The fluorescence intensity of the nanoparticles was relatively stable in the vitreous humor, compared to antibodies. Nanoparticles accumulated on the internal limiting membrane of the retina with no penetration into deeper retinal tissue, whereas the smaller size 25 nm nanoparticles passed across the ciliary body and moved into choroid, retina, and suprachoroidal space. A gradual decrease of nanoparticles by their sizes in the vitreous after 30 days after injection was described as the percentage ratio: 61.1% (25 nm), 69.1% (50 nm), 78.6% (200nm), and 85.3% (250 nm). Conclusions:Our study revealed the in vivo intraocular distribution and kinetics of antibodies and nanoparticles with diverse sizes and the result might help to develop newer intraocular drugs and drug delivery systems to treat retinal diseases. Translational Relevance:These experimental results can be valuable data for human research.
Project description:The vitreous humor is a fragile, transparent hydrogel situated between the lens and the retina, occupying 80% of the eye's volume. Due to its viscoelastic behavior, the vitreous serves as a mechanical damper for the eye, absorbing impacts, and protecting the lens and retina. The vitreous liquefies with age, which compromises its function as a shock absorber and causes complications including retinal detachment, macular holes, and vitreous hemorrhage. Studies on the viscoelastic properties of the vitreous have been limited. Rheological testing of the vitreous has commonly been done on non-primate mammalian species. Human vitreous rheological properties have been previously reported; however, various measurement techniques were used, resulting in data that differed by orders of magnitude. Shear rheometry is commonly used to characterize soft tissues and hydrogels such as the vitreous humor. However, no human vitreous rheological data have been reported using this technique, preventing direct comparison to other published work. Additionally, no age-related changes in the mechanical properties of the human vitreous humor have been reported. Human vitreous samples (n = 39, aged 62 ± 15 years) were tested using a shear rheometer. Small amplitude oscillatory shear and creep experiments were performed. The linear viscoelastic region of the human vitreous was found to be below 1% strain. The solid phase of the old human vitreous was found to be stiffer than the young human vitreous and the porcine vitreous. The stiffness of the human vitreous gel also appeared to be positively correlated with age. Vitreous dehydration due to a decrease in hyaluronic acid concentration with age was proposed to cause the stiffening of the solid phase of the vitreous gel. Vitreous liquefaction, therefore, might be characterized as a simultaneous increase in liquid volume and localized stiffening of the vitreous gel. The phase separation of the vitreous humor with age has been hypothesized as the cause of many vitreous-related complications. This study provides viscoelastic properties and age-related changes of the human vitreous humor, which will aid in the design of biomimetic vitreous substitutes, enhancement in analyzing intravitreal transport of therapeutics, and understanding the pathological conditions of the vitreous humor.
Project description:Studying propulsion mechanisms in low Reynolds number fluid has implications for many fields, ranging from the biology of motile microorganisms and the physics of active matter to micromixing in catalysis and micro- and nanorobotics. The propulsion of magnetic micropropellers can be characterized by a dimensionless speed, which solely depends on the propeller geometry for a given axis of rotation. However, this dependence has so far been only investigated for helical propeller shapes, which were assumed to be optimal. In order to explore a larger variety of shapes, we experimentally studied the propulsion properties of randomly shaped magnetic micropropellers. Surprisingly, we found that their dimensionless speeds are high on average, comparable to previously reported nanofabricated helical micropropellers. The highest dimensionless speed we observed is higher than that of any previously reported propeller moving in a low Reynolds number fluid, proving that physical random shape generation can be a viable optimization strategy.
Project description:Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) inhibitors allow for causative glaucoma therapy. Unfortunately, topically applied ROCK inhibitors suffer from high incidence of hyperemia and low intraocular bioavailability. Therefore, we propose the use of poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) microspheres as a depot formulation for intravitreal injection to supply outflow tissues with the ROCK inhibitor fasudil over a prolonged time. Fasudil-loaded microspheres were prepared by double emulsion solvent evaporation technique. The chemical integrity of released fasudil was confirmed by mass spectrometry. The biological activity was measured in cell-based assays using trabecular meshwork cells (TM cells), Schlemm's canal cells (SC cells), fibroblasts and adult retinal pigment epithelium cells (ARPE-19). Cellular response to fasudil after its diffusion through vitreous humor was investigated by electric cell-substrate impedance sensing. Microspheres ranged in size from 3 to 67 µm. The release of fasudil from microspheres was controllable and sustained for up to 45 days. Released fasudil reduced actin stress fibers in TM cells, SC cells and fibroblasts. Decreased collagen gel contraction provoked by fasudil was detected in TM cells (~2.4-fold), SC cells (~1.4-fold) and fibroblasts (~1.3-fold). In addition, fasudil readily diffused through vitreous humor reaching its target compartment and eliciting effects on TM cells. No negative effects on ARPE-19 cells were observed. Since fasudil readily diffuses through the vitreous humor, we suggest that an intravitreal drug depot of ROCK inhibitors could significantly improve current glaucoma therapy particularly for patients with comorbid retinal diseases.
Project description:Abstract Embryo transfer (ET) is a decisive step in the in vitro fertilization process. In most cases, the embryo is transferred to the uterus after several days of in vitro culture. Although studies have identified the beneficial effects of ET on proper embryo development in the earlier stages, this strategy is compromised by the necessity to transfer early embryos (zygotes) back to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, which requires a more invasive, laparoscopic procedure, termed zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). Magnetic micromotors offer the possibility to mitigate such surgical interventions, as they have the potential to transport and deliver cellular cargo such as zygotes through the uterus and fallopian tube noninvasively, actuated by an externally applied rotating magnetic field. This study presents the capture, transport, and release of bovine and murine zygotes using two types of magnetic micropropellers, helix and spiral. Although helices represent an established micromotor architecture, spirals surpass them in terms of motion performance and with their ability to reliably capture and secure the cargo during both motion and transfer between different environments. Herein, this is demonstrated with murine oocytes/zygotes as the cargo; this is the first step toward the application of noninvasive, magnetic micromotor?assisted ZIFT. Spiral micropropellers that capture, transport, and release oocytes and zygotes, actuated solely by a rotating magnetic field, and are transferred between different environments without losing the cargo, are presented. The propulsion and transport performance of the innovative propellers and their advantages over established helical micromotors are demonstrated regarding applicability in a noninvasive alternative concept to laparoscopy, zygote transfer by micromotors.
Project description:The efficient treatment of many ocular diseases depends on the rapid diffusive distribution of solutes such as drugs or drug delivery vehicles through the vitreous humor. However, this multicomponent hydrogel possesses selective permeability properties, which allow for the diffusion of certain molecules and particles, whereas others are immobilized. In this study, we perform an interspecies comparison showing that the selective permeability properties of the vitreous are conserved across several mammalian species. We identify the polyanionic glycosaminoglycans hyaluronic acid and heparan sulfate as two key macromolecules that establish this selective permeability. We show that electrostatic interactions between the polyanionic macromolecules and diffusing solutes can be weakened by charge screening or enzymatic glycosaminoglycan digestion. Furthermore, molecule penetration into the vitreous is also charge-dependent and only efficient as long as the net charge of the molecule does not exceed a certain threshold.
Project description:Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-based gene therapy is a promising treatment strategy for delivery of neurotrophic transgenes to retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in glaucoma patients. Retinal distribution of transgene expression following intravitreal injection (IVT) of AAV is variable in animal models and the vitreous humor may represent a barrier to initial vector penetration. The primary goal of our study was to investigate the effect of prior core vitrectomy with posterior hyaloid membrane peeling on pattern and efficiency of transduction of a capsid amino acid substituted AAV2 vector, carrying the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter transgene following IVT in dogs. When progressive intraocular inflammation developed starting 4 weeks post IVT, the study plan was modified to allow detailed characterization of the etiology as a secondary goal. Unexpectedly, surgical vitrectomy was found to significantly limit transduction, whereas in non-vitrectomized eyes transduction efficiency reached upwards to 37.3% of RGC layer cells. The developing retinitis was characterized by mononuclear cell infiltrates resulting from a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction, which we suspect was directed at the GFP transgene. Our results, in a canine large animal model, support caution when considering surgical vitrectomy before IVT for retinal gene therapy in patients, as prior vitrectomy appears to significantly reduce transduction efficiency and may predispose the patient to development of vector-induced immune reactions.
Project description:Preoperative treatment of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents is extensively used in proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), but the molecular mechanism is not fully understood. The objective of this research is to observe change of protein profile induced by ranibizumab (an anti-VEGF agent) in vitreous humor from PDR patients and reveal the effects of anti-VEGF treatment on PDR.A proteomic method was used to identify differentially expressed proteins in vitreous humor. Untreated PDR patients were defined as PDR group, while those who treated with intravitreal injection of ranibizumab (IVR) were defined as IVR. Gene Ontology (GO) annotation and REACTOME pathways were obtained from DAVID Bioinformatics Resources. Intravitreal level of apolipoprotein C-I (APOC1), serpin peptidase inhibitor clade A member 5 (SERPINA5), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP2), and keratin 1 (KRT1) were determined by enzyme-linked immuno sorbent assay (ELISA).339 differentially expressed proteins were identified in response to IVR. The most notable GO annotation describes the altered proteins was "innate immune response". The most notable REACTOME pathway was "platelet degranulation". ELISA result showed increased level of APOC1, SERPINA5, KRT1 and a decreased level of TIMP2 in PDR group compared with IVR.In addition to decreasing VEGF level, ranibizumab is associated with change of human vitreous protein profile in patients with PDR, in which the differential proteins are involved in immune response, platelet degranulation, complement activation etc., suggesting that the effects of VEGF are involved in these signaling pathways.
Project description:Many adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes efficiently transduce the retina when delivered to the subretinal space but show limited success when delivered to the vitreous due to the inner limiting membrane (ILM). Subretinal delivery of AAV serotype 2 (AAV2) and its heparan sulfate (HS)-binding-deficient capsid led to similar expression, indicating transduction of the outer retina occurred by HS-independent mechanisms. However, intravitreal delivery of HS-ablated recombinant AAV2 (rAAV2) led to a 300-fold decrease in transduction compared to AAV2. Fluorescence in situ hybridization of AAV transgenes was used to identify differences in retinal trafficking and revealed that HS binding was responsible for AAV2 accumulation at the ILM. This mechanism was tested on human ex vivo retinas and showed similar accumulation with HS-binding AAV2 capsid only. To evaluate if HS binding could be applied to other AAV serotypes to enhance their transduction, AAV1 and AAV8 were modified to bind HS with a single-amino-acid mutation and tested in mice. Both HS-binding mutants of AAV1 and AAV8 had higher intravitreal transduction than their non-HS-binding parent capsid due to increased retinal accumulation. To understand the influence that HS binding has on tropism, chimeric AAV2 capsids with dual-glycan usage were tested intravitreally in mice. Compared to HS binding alone, these chimeric capsids displayed enhanced transduction that was correlated with a change in tropism. Taken together, these data indicate that HS binding serves to sequester AAV capsids from the vitreous to the ILM but does not influence retinal tropism. The enhanced retinal transduction of HS-binding capsids provides a rational design strategy for engineering capsids for intravitreal delivery.Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has become the vector of choice for viral gene transfer and has shown great promise in clinical trials. The need for development of an easy, less invasive injection route for ocular gene therapy is met by intravitreal delivery, but delivery of AAV by this route results in poor transduction outcomes. The inner limiting membrane (ILM) creates a barrier separating the vitreous and the retina. Binding of AAV to heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) at the ILM may allow the virus to traverse this barrier for better retinal transduction. We show that HSPG binding is correlated with greater accumulation and penetration of AAV in the retina. We demonstrated that this accumulation is conserved across mouse and human retinas and that the addition of HSPG binding to other AAV capsids can increase the number of vectors accumulating at the ILM without dictating tropism.