Background and objective: To investigate the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) using tin ethyl etiopurpurin (SnET2) for occluding the choriocapillaris in the eyes of pigmented rabbits.
Materials and methods: Following intravenous injection of SnET2 (0.5 and 1 mg/kg) or lipid emulsion alone, the fundus of pigmented rabbits (n = 21) was irradiated starting 15 to 45 minutes after photosensitizer injection using 664-nm light at a fluence of 300 mW/cm2 and light doses of 5 to 20 J/cm2. Funduscopy, fluorescein angiography, and light and electron microscopy were performed at 1, 14, and 28 days after PDT.
Results: Following SnET2 and PDT, closure of the choriocapillaris was achieved with light doses as low as 5 J/cm2 (17 seconds) and a drug dose of 0.5 mg/kg of SnET2. Vascular occlusion was documented by fluorescein angiography and histology. Photodynamic damage was noted in the choriocapillary endothelial cells. Retinal pigment epithelial damage and outer retinal damage were also observed. No funduscopic, angiographic, or histologic findings were present in the eyes of pigmented control rabbits.
Conclusions: PDT with SnET2 was effective in this animal model, using low levels of activating light for the occlusion of the choriocapillaris. This has clinical implications for the treatment of choroidal neovascularization and could be a more selective therapy than thermal laser photocoagulation.