Poly(1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone) hydrogels as vitreous substitutes: histopathological evaluation in the animal eye

J Biomater Sci Polym Ed. 1996;7(8):685-96. doi: 10.1163/156856296x00453.


A homopolymer of 1-vinyl-2 pyrrolidinone and its copolymer with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate, both cross-linked with divinyl glycol, were produced as possible substitutes for the vitreous body of the eye. The hydrated polymers behaved like viscoelastic gels, displaying excellent physical and optical properties. The sterile gels (0.7-1.5 ml) were injected into the vitreous cavity of rabbits, which previously underwent gas-mediated vitrectomy. Clinically, the eyes were quiet, with the exception of transient opacities in the vitreous. After 4 weeks, the operated eyes were enucleated and subjected to histopathological analysis using light and transmission electron microscopy. The common feature in all sections was the invasion of inflammatory cells. Vacuoles containing granular material, assumed to be polymer, were seen in the intercellular spaces of the neural retina, in the retinal pigment epithelium cells, and in macrophages. These findings indicated the fragmentation and phagocytosis of synthetic gels. It appeared that the biodegradation of the internalized polymers did not proceed further, however, the fate of polymers and their usefulness as vitreous substitutes should be investigated through long-term experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / pathology
  • Cornea / ultrastructure
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Elasticity
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Inflammation
  • Lens, Crystalline / drug effects*
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Lens, Crystalline / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Polyethylene Glycols*
  • Polyvinyls / administration & dosage
  • Polyvinyls / toxicity*
  • Pyrrolidinones / administration & dosage
  • Pyrrolidinones / toxicity*
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / drug effects*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retina / ultrastructure
  • Retinal Vessels / drug effects
  • Retinal Vessels / pathology
  • Retinal Vessels / ultrastructure
  • Vacuoles / drug effects
  • Vacuoles / pathology
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure
  • Viscosity
  • Vitreous Body / drug effects*
  • Vitreous Body / pathology


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Polyvinyls
  • Pyrrolidinones
  • poly(1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone)
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Polyethylene Glycols