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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999 Jun;40(7):1496-502.

Effect of focal X-ray irradiation on experimental choroidal neovascularization.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.



Radiation therapy has been used to treat choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in patients with age-related macular degeneration. The in vivo effect of applying focal x-ray irradiation to the eye of rabbits with experimental CNV was investigated.


CNV was induced in the rabbit eyes by subretinal implantation of gelatin hydrogel microspheres impregnated with basic fibroblast growth factor. Three weeks after implantation, 17 of 34 eyes with CNV lesions accompanied by fluorescein leakage were irradiated with a single dose of 20 Gy; the other 17 eyes were not irradiated and served as the controls. The eyes were examined before irradiation and 1, 2, and 4 weeks after irradiation, by indirect ophthalmoscopy and fluorescein angiography. The degree of a decreasing amount of fluorescein leakage from the CNV lesions after irradiation was graded using a computerized image analysis system and was compared in the irradiated and nonirradiated eyes. These eyes were also examined histologically and immunohistochemically.


Fluorescein leakage from the CNV lesions had significantly decreased in the eyes irradiated with 20 Gy compared with the control eyes, throughout the study period (P < 0.05). Histologic and immunohistochemical studies at 4 weeks after irradiation demonstrated that the degree of vascular formation and the number of vascular endothelial cells in the subretinal membrane of the irradiated eyes were less than those of the control eyes.


Focal x-ray irradiation at the ocular region effectively reduced experimental CNV activity. These results support the possibility that radiation therapy may be beneficial in treating CNV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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