To alleviate oxidative stress-induced ocular hypertension, grafting of antioxidant molecules to drug carriers enables a dual-function mechanism to effectively treat glaucomatous intraocular pressure (IOP) dysregulation. Providing potential application for intracameral administration of antiglaucoma medications, this study, for the first time, aims to examine in vivo pharmacological efficacy of pilocarpine-loaded antioxidant-functionalized biodegradable thermogels in glaucomatous rabbits. A series of gallic acid (GA)-grafted gelatin-g-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (GN) polymers were synthesized via redox reactions at 20-50 °C. Our results showed that raising redox radical initiation reaction temperature maximizes GA grafting level, antioxidant activity, and water content at 40 °C. Meanwhile, increase in overall hydrophilicity of GNGA carriers leads to fast polymer degradation and early pilocarpine depletion in vivo, which is disadvantageous to offer necessary pharmacological performance at prolonged time. By contrast, sustained therapeutic drug concentrations in aqueous humor can be achieved for long-term (i.e., 28 days) protection against corneal aberration and retinal injury after pilocarpine delivery using dual-function optimized carriers synthesized at 30 °C. The GA-functionalized injectable hydrogels are also found to contribute significantly to enhancement of retinal antioxidant defense system and preservation of histological structure and electrophysiological function, thereby supporting the benefits of drug-containing antioxidant biodegradable thermogels to prevent glaucoma development.


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Nature Publishing Group

Date of publication

Spring 2-10-2017



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