To evaluate an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (AS-ODN) targeted against vascular endothelial growth factor for its effects on ocular angiogenesis and its intraocular localization in a nonhuman primate model of iris neovascularization.
Bilateral laser retinal vein occlusion was performed in monkeys, followed by intravitreal injections of a vascular endothelial growth factor–specific AS-ODN or control. Serial fluorescein angiograms were graded in a masked manner to measure iris neovascularization. Localization was determined using a fluorescent-labeled AS-ODN and confocal microscopy on fixed tissue.
Intravitreally injected vascular endothelial growth factor–specific AS-ODN localized to the retina, in the ganglion cell layer, inner nuclear layer, outer plexiform layer, photoreceptor outer segments, and retinal pigment epithelium. In 8 animals tested with 3μM ODN, AS-ODN–treated eyes had a significant reduction in iris neovascularization compared with control fellow eyes (P = .006, MIXOR analysis). Overall, in 17 animals tested across a range of ODN concentrations (0.1-50.0μM), AS-ODN–treated eyes were more likely to have lower iris neovascularization grades (P = .006, McNemar test) and the absence of iris neovascularization (P< .001, mixed-effects logistic regression model).
Antisense ODNs that target vascular endothelial growth factor delivered to the retina via intravitreal injection reduced iris neovascularization in this model.
Antisense ODNs against vascular endothelial growth factor may have therapeutic potential for neovascular eye diseases.