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Pharm Res. 2009 May;26(5):1155-61. doi: 10.1007/s11095-009-9835-0. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Human scleral diffusion of anticancer drugs from solution and nanoparticle formulation.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



To determine the transscleral permeability of chemotherapeutic drugs vinblastine and doxorubicin for treatment of intraocular tumors, and to compare the use of doxorubicin encapsulated in PLGA and liposome nanoparticles.


Human sclera was isolated and mounted in a Lucite chamber. Fluorescently tagged vinblastine (VIN), innately fluorescent free doxorubicin (DOX), PLGA doxorubicin (PLGA-DOX), or Doxil (Tibotec Therapeutics) were added to the episcleral donor chamber. The choroidal side was perfused with Balanced Salt Solution. Perfusate fractions were collected over 24 h and measured for fluorescence. Following the experiment, tissue sections were imaged, underwent a drug wash out procedure, and tissue drug content was analyzed using an LC-MS/MS method.


Within 24 h, a total of 68%, 74%, 29%, and 1.9% of the drug dose from VIN, DOX, PLGA-DOX, and Doxil, respectively, diffused across the sclera. VIN and DOX scleral tissue showed strong fluorescence after 24 h. PLGA-DOX displayed scattered fluorescence, and Doxil indicated minimal fluorescence. LC-MS/MS revealed strong tissue binding of DOX.


This study suggests both vinblastine and doxorubicin are able to diffuse across human sclera. In addition, PLGA nanoparticles delivered doxorubicin at a slower rate across the sclera, and the liposome preparation resulted in the slowest delivery of drug.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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