Purpose: Repeated intravitreal injections of ranibizumab or bevacizumab are a common treatment for several retinal diseases. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the long-term retinal toxicity of repeated injections of ranibizumab and bevacizumab in rabbits.
Methods: Albino rabbits were injected intravitreally with ranibizumab (1 mg/0.1 mL) or bevacizumab (2.5 mg/0.1 mL) into the right eye, whereas the left eye of each rabbit was injected with saline. Nine consecutive injections were administered at 14-day intervals. Electroretinographic responses and flash visual-evoked potentials were recorded periodically. After 18 weeks of follow-up, the rabbits were killed, and the retinas were prepared for morphologic examination and for immunocytochemistry for glial fibrillary acidic protein.
Results: Electroretinographic and visual-evoked potential responses of the experimental and control eyes were similar in amplitude and pattern throughout the follow-up period. The histopathologic studies yielded similar results. No retinal damage was observed in the experimental and control eyes of all rabbits. Glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity showed staining only in retinal astrocytes but not in Müller cells in all rabbits.
Conclusion: The electrophysiological tests and the morphologic data indicate that the repeated intravitreal injections of ranibizumab or bevacizumab have no cumulative long-term toxic effect on the retina in rabbits.