Crosslinked poly(1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone) as a vitreous substitute

J Biomed Mater Res. 1996 Apr;30(4):441-8. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4636(199604)30:4<441::AID-JBM2>3.0.CO;2-P.


A hydrogel with a high water content was produced and tested as a possible vitreous substitute. The polymer (poly[1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone]) (PVP) was synthesized by free radical bulk polymerization of 1-vinyl-2-pyrrolidinone (VP) in the presence of 0.25% divinyl glycol (DVG) as a crosslinking agent. The fully hydrated polymer, containing about 98% water, was clear, transparent, autoclavable, and easily injected through a small-gauge needle with minimum fragmentation, and without changes in its optical properties. Dynamic mechanical analysis of the hydrogel indicated a covalently crosslinked elastic network both before and after injection. The resilience of hydrogel decreased after being subjected to shear stress during the injection process. A cytotoxicity bioassay of the hydrogel in vitro, using cultured mouse (Balb/ c-3T3) fibroblasts, showed cytostatic but not cytocidal effects. The hydrogel was injected into the vitreous cavity of rabbits and followed up to 4 weeks. The gel was clinically well tolerated, however opacities in the vitreous body were observed following the insertion of the gel. Histopathological examination revealed no adverse reactions to the retina, but the presence of loose polymer particles indicated the possibility of the biodegradation of the polymer. These results suggest the potential use of crosslinked PVP hydrogels as vitreous substitutes, provided that their biodegradation is not significant, a matter that should be further investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / physiology*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / drug effects
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / pathology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure
  • Rabbits
  • Rheology
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Bromodeoxyuridine