Topical silver nanoparticles result in improved bleb function by increasing filtration and reducing fibrosis in a rabbit model of filtration surgery

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Jul 24;54(7):4982-90. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-12047.


Purpose: To compare the effects of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and mitomycin C (MMC) on intraocular pressure (IOP) and external, histologic, and immunohistochemical bleb characteristics in a rabbit model of filtration surgery.

Methods: Filtration surgery with concurrent topical application of either AgNPs or MMC was performed on 14 pigmented Dutch Belted rabbits. IOP and bleb characteristics were compared on postoperative day 1 and at weeks 1 through 6. Hematoxylin and eosin staining and smooth muscle actin (SMA) immunohistochemistry were performed at postoperative week 6.

Results: Average IOP across all time points was reduced 5.8 and 3.8 mm Hg in AgNP- and MMC-treated eyes, respectively. At week 6, IOP was reduced 4.1 and 0.2 mm Hg in AgNP- and MMC-treated eyes, respectively. Blebs were smaller, thicker, and less ischemic in AgNP-treated eyes. AgNP-treated eyes showed less fibrosis and more stromal edema, suggesting increased filtration, and also had fewer SMA-positive myofibroblasts, suggesting reduced bleb contraction. AgNP-treated eyes showed more lymphocytes than MMC-treated eyes. There were few complications in both groups.

Conclusions: In a rabbit model of filtration surgery, AgNPs are a reasonable alternative to MMC as adjunctive therapy. Compared to MMC, AgNPs result in an improved and sustained reduction of IOP and promote blebs with decreased fibrosis and ischemia as well as increased filtration despite a smaller overall size. This combination may offer an opportunity to promote long-term surgical IOP reduction with an improved complication profile.

Keywords: filtration surgery; glaucoma; mitomycin C; rabbit; silver nanoparticle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Blister
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Filtering Surgery / methods*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Glaucoma / surgery*
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Metal Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage
  • Mitomycin / adverse effects
  • Rabbits
  • Silver / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Silver
  • Mitomycin