Comparison of reduced and standard light application in photodynamic therapy of the eye in two rabbit models

  • C. FrammeEmail author
  • B. Flucke
  • R. Birngruber



Current PDT treatment for age-related macular degeneration uses a standard radiant exposure of 50 J/cm2 at an irradiance of 600 mW/cm2. However; there is a general problem with the unusually high irradiance; in fact, the rate of photochemical production of singlet oxygen may be limited by insufficiently oxygenized neovascular tissue. It was the aim of this study to evaluate the efficacy of verteporfin (Visudyne) photoactivation to induce thrombosis of choriocapillaries and in experimentally induced corneal neovascularizations in rabbits by varying irradiance and retinal radiant exposure.

Materials and methods

The light-dose threshold to induce micro-thrombosis in the choriocapillaries (seven eyes) and in corneal neovascularizations (eight eyes) of Chinchilla-Bastard rabbits using different retinal irradiances (100 and 600 mW/cm2) at different radiant exposures (20, 10, 5, 2.5, 1.25, 0.62, and 0.3 J/cm2) was evaluated. Induction of neovascularizations was performed 7 days prior to PDT treatment using intracorneal silk sutures. A dose of 2 mg/kg verteporfin was intravenously infused 10 min before standard PDT. The criterion for vascular thrombosis was vessel closure as determined by fluorescein angiography 1 h and 1 day post exposure.


Experiments on the choroid revealed vessel closure 1 h after irradiation at ED50 = 10.8 J/cm2 (both 600 and 100 mW/cm2) and after 24 h at ED50 = 2.4 J/cm2 (600 mW/cm2) versus 1.8 J/cm2 (100 mW/cm2). Vessel closure was enhanced at irradiation with 100 mW/cm2. Regarding corneal neovascularizations, vessel thrombosis was observable by dark appearance of irradiated clotted neovascular tissue and angiographically by a lack of leakage at ED50 thresholds of 0.62 J/cm2 (1 h) and 0.41 J/cm2 (1 day) for 100 mW/cm2 and of 0.99 J/cm2 (1 h), and 0.67 J/cm2 (1 day) for 600 mW/cm2. Thus in both experiments thresholds for vessel closure were reduced by a factor of 1.5 for the lower intensity. Histology revealed more selective vessel occlusion without RPE and photoreceptor damage for 100 mW/cm2 rather than 600 mW/cm2 intensity at threshold irradiation.


Low-intensity PDT with verteporfin for neovascular tissue seems to be more effective than regular high-intensity PDT. Future preclinical trials should address the issue of proper dosimetry for effective PDT in age-related macular degeneration.


PDT AMD Choroidal neovascularization Radiant exposure Threshold 



We would like to thank QLT, Vancouver, Canada for providing the Visudyne used in our experiments and Prof. Dr. H. Lagua, Director of the University Eye Hospital Luebeck, for providing the laser system.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Laser Center LuebeckLuebeckGermany
  2. 2.University Eye Hospital RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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