PURPOSE: It has been proposed that changes in the permeability of Bruch's membrane play a role in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This paper investigates, in an in vivo porcine model, the migration of fluorescent latex beads across the Bruch's membrane after subretinal injection.
METHODS: Forty-one healthy eyes of 33 three-month-old domestic pigs received a subretinal injection of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 μm fluorescent latex beads. Between three hours and five weeks after injection evaluations were performed with fundus photographs and histology. Fluorescent beads were identified in unstained histologic sections using the rhodamine filter with the light microscope.
RESULTS: The fluorescent latex beads relocated from the subretinal space. Intact beads up to 2.0 μm were found in the choroid, sclera, and extrascleral space. The smaller beads were also found inside choroidal and extrascleral blood vessels. In contrast, the larger beads of 4.0 μm did not pass the Bruch's membrane.
CONCLUSION: Subretinally implanted beads up to 2.0 μm pass the Bruch's membrane intact and cross the blood-ocular barrier. The intact beads are found in the choroid, sclera and inside blood vessels. The results give reason to consider the role of subretinal clearance and passage of Bruch's membrane in the development of AMD.