Purpose: To demonstrate the selective localization of the hydrophilic photosensitizer mono-L-aspartyl chlorin e6 (NPe6) in experimental choroidal neovascularization in nonhuman primate eyes.
Methods: Sixty-seven experimental choroidal neovascular lesions (CNV) were created in the fundi of Macaca monkeys using the modified Ryan's model and documented by fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography. To determine the biodistribution of NPe6 and the optimal timing of laser irradiation after dye administration, NPe6 angiography and fluorescence microscopy with NPe6 were performed. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) was performed at various dye doses (0.5-10.0 mg/kg) and laser fluences (7.5-225.0 J/cm2) on the CNV and on 10 areas of normal retina and choroid. Treatment outcomes were assessed by fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography and confirmed by light and electron microscopy.
Results: NPe6 fluorescence microscopy demonstrated intense fluorescence of CNV and retinal pigment epithelial cells. Choroidal vessel walls and outer retina adjacent to CNV fluoresced moderately; retinal vessel walls and microcapillaries had trace fluorescence. The fluorescence of CNV lesions on fluorescein angiography became stronger than that of retinal vessels 20-60 minutes after dye injection. Choroidal neovascular lesion closure was achieved with NPe6 PDT without significant damage to the sensory retina. Histology demonstrated necrosis of CNV endothelial cells with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.
Conclusions: NPe6 PDT selectively localizes to experimental CNV in nonhuman primates, resulting in occlusion of CNV with sparing of the neurosensory retina.