Pharmacokinetics of controlled-release polymers in the subarachnoid space after subarachnoid hemorrhage in rabbits

Gustavo Pradilla, Paul P. Wang, Federico G. Legnani, James L. Frazier, Rafael J. Tamargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Object. Implantation of controlled-release polymers into the subarachnoid space to deliver drugs for treatment of vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is currently of interest. Among the issues regarding local delivery of drugs in the subarachnoid space, however, are the extent of diffusion and the rate of release of the loaded agents. In this study Evans blue dye (EBD) was loaded into controlled-release polymers and its pharmacokinetic properties were determined in vitro and in vivo by using a rabbit model of SAH. Methods. Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVAc) was loaded 40% (w:w) with EBD and its pharmacokinetics were spectrophotometrically determined in vitro by examining three EBD-EVAc polymers. Additional polymers were implanted either into the frontal lobe or into the cisterna magna of 16 New Zealand White rabbits. Subarachnoid hemorrhage was induced in eight of the animals by an injection of 1.5 ml of arterial blood into the cisterna magna. The animals were killed 3 or 14 days postoperatively, their brains and spinal cords were harvested, and samples of each were placed in formamide for dye extraction and quantification. Specimens were examined macroscopically and the concentrations of EBD were determined with the aid of a spectrophotometer. The EBD-EVAc polymers continuously released EBD over a 133-day period. The controlled release of the dye into the subarachnoid space in either location resulted in staining of the entire central nervous system (CNS) in rabbits when the polymers were placed either on the frontal lobe or in the cisterna magna. The EBD diffusion covered a distance of at least 40 cm. The presence of blood in the subarachnoid space did not interfere with the diffusion. Conclusions. In this study the authors define the rate and extent of diffusion of EBD from controlled-release polymers placed in the subarachnoid space under conditions of SAH. Evans blue dye diffused through the entire rabbit CNS, covering a distance greater than that of the longest dimension of the hemicircumference of the subarachnoid space around the human brain. The pharmacokinetic properties of EBD-EVAc polymers are comparable to those of antivasospasm agents that are successfully used in animal models of SAH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Controlled-release polymer
  • Drug delivery
  • Rabbit
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Vasospasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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