Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine the role of the neonatal Fc (FcRn) receptor in eliminating intravitreally administered full-length immunoglobulin G (IgG) across the blood-retinal barrier.
Methods: FcRn receptor expression in normal and laser photocoagulated retinas was compared quantitatively by real-time RT-PCR. The distribution of intravitreally administered full-length IgG was investigated and compared in wild-type and FcRn knockout mouse eyes as well as normal and laser-photocoagulated rat eyes at several time points. Additionally, the pharmacokinetics of intravitreally injected full-length IgG and chicken immunoglobulin Y (IgY) was compared in the normal rat retina.
Results: Intravitreally administered full-length IgG overcame the inner limiting membrane and diffused into the deeper retinal structures in both normal and laser-photocoagulated retinas. Interestingly, IgG was eliminated across the blood-retinal barrier into the blood system in the normal retina, whereas IgY was not. In addition, full-length IgGs did not penetrate across the blood-retinal barrier in the FcRn knockout mouse. Intravitreally injected IgGs were eliminated into the blood system more rapidly in laser-photocoagulated eyes when compared to normal control eyes because of FcRn receptor upregulation in the laser-photocoagulated retina.
Conclusions: FcRn plays an important role in eliminating intravitreally administered full-length IgGs across the blood-retina barrier into the systemic blood system.