Ocular nanoparticle toxicity and transfection of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium

Tarl W. Prow, Imran Bhutto, Sahng Y. Kim, Rhonda Grebe, Carol Merges, D. Scott McLeod, Koichi Uno, Mohamed Mennon, Li Rodriguez, Kam Leong, Gerard A. Lutty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Chitosan, PCEP (poly{[(cholesteryl oxocarbonylamido ethyl) methyl bis(ethylene) ammonium iodide] ethyl phosphate}), and magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were evaluated for the safe delivery of genes in the eye. Rabbits were injected with nanoparticles either intravitreally (IV) or subretinally (SR) and sacrificed 7 days later. Eyes were grossly evaluated for retinal pigment epithelium abnormalities, retinal degeneration, and inflammation. All eyes were cryopreserved and sectioned for analysis of toxicity and expression of either enhanced green or red fluorescent proteins. All of the nanoparticles were able to transfect cells in vitro and in vivo. IV chitosan showed inflammation in 12/13 eyes, whereas IV PCEP and IV MNPs were not inflammatory and did not induce retinal pathology. SR PCEP was nontoxic in the majority of cases but yielded poor transfection, whereas SR MNPs were nontoxic and yielded good transfection. Therefore, we conclude that the best nanoparticle evaluated in vivo was the least toxic nanoparticle tested, the MNP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Chitosan
  • Gene delivery
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Retina
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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