Biodegradation and tissue reaction to intravitreous biodegradable poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic)acid microspheres

Curr Eye Res. 1995 Sep;14(9):761-8. doi: 10.3109/02713689508995797.


We studied the biodegradation of and the tissue reaction to microspheres of 50:50 poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic)acid (PLGA) (viscosity-average MW: 3000 d), injected intravitreous in rabbits. These microspheres are under investigation as injectable devices for intravitreous sustained drug delivery. The rate of intravitreous degradation of PLGA microspheres has not been well documented in the literature. Twenty two pigmented rabbits underwent gas vitrectomy in one eye: 19 eyes received 2.5 mg of PLGA microspheres in 1 ml of balanced salt solution (BSS) and 3 control eyes received 1 ml of BSS only. Slit lamp exam and indirect ophthalmoscopy were performed periodically from day 1 to 6 months after surgery. The eyes were enucleated and studied by light microscopy and immunohistochemistry at various time points. The electroretinogram (ERG) was recorded in a subgroup of rabbits before injection and after 1 and 6 months. The amount of microspheres in the vitreous cavity progressively decreased. At 6 months microspheres were found in 1/4 rabbits at indirect ophthalmoscopy and in 4/4 rabbits histopathologically. A mild localized, non progressive foreign body reaction was observed. The cell reaction was composed mostly of vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein positive cells which probably represent glial cells and fibroblasts. The choroid and retina were normal. The ERG showed no abnormalities. No clinical inflammatory signs were observed 4 days postoperatively and thereafter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacokinetics
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Electroretinography / drug effects
  • Eye / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / pathology
  • Lactic Acid*
  • Male
  • Microspheres*
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Polyglycolic Acid*
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polymers / adverse effects
  • Polymers / pharmacokinetics
  • Polymers / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Vitreous Body / drug effects*
  • Vitreous Body / metabolism
  • Vitreous Body / pathology


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid