Date: 13 Oct 2007

Effects of intraocular irrigation with melphalan on rabbit retinas during vitrectomy

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To investigate the toxic effects of perfusion of intravitreal melphalan during vitrectomy on the rabbit retina.


We performed electoretinography (ERG) in 18 eyes of 18 healthy albino rabbits before and after intraocular melphalan perfusion at concentrations of 5-, 10-, and 20-μg/ml during pars plana vitrectomy. Fellow eyes that underwent vitrectomy without melphalan served as controls. The histopathologic retinal changes were observed in both eyes of two rabbits from each group.


In the 5-μg/ml perfusion group, the ERGs and histology showed no substantial changes compared with control fellow eyes during 28 days postoperatively. In the 10- and 20-μg/ml groups, the mean a-wave amplitude decreased to 52% and 31% respectively of the fellow eye; the mean b-wave amplitude decreased to 52% and 19% respectively. However, the peak implicit time of the a- and b-waves did not significantly differ in the 10- and 20-μg/ml groups during 28 days postoperatively. Histologic sections showed necrosis of the inner nuclear layer and thinning of the outer nuclear layer in the 10-μg/ml group. Loss of the outer nuclear layer and the photoreceptor layer and necrosis of the inner nuclear layer were observed in the 20-μg/ml group.


The intravitreal 5-μg/ml melphalan perfusion during vitrectomy appears to be nontoxic to the retina. This therapeutic modality might be a potential treatment for retinoblastoma with vitreous seeding.

Grant Support: Supported in part by a grant from the Health and Welfare Ministry, Japan.