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Quanqing Gao, Cassie A. Ludwig, Stephen J. Smith, Ira H. Schachar; Ocular Penetrance and Safety of the Dopaminergic Prodrug Etilevodopa. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(12):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.12.5.
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Animal models have demonstrated the role of dopamine in regulating axial elongation, the critical feature of myopia. Because frequent delivery of dopaminergic agents via peribulbar, intravitreal, or intraperitoneal injections is not clinically viable, we sought to evaluate ocular penetration and safety of the topically applied dopaminergic prodrug etilevodopa.
The ocular penetration of dopamine and dopaminergic prodrugs (levodopa and etilevodopa) were quantified using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in enucleated porcine eyes after a single topical administration. The pharmacokinetic profile of the etilevodopa was then assessed in rats. A four-week once-daily application of etilevodopa as a topical eye drop was conducted to establish its safety profile.
At 24 hours, the studied prodrugs showed increased dopaminergic derivatives in the vitreous of porcine eyes. Dopamine 0.5% (P = 0.0123) and etilevodopa 10% (p = 0.370) achieved significant vitreous concentrations. Etilevodopa 10% was able to enter the posterior segment of the eye after topical administration in rats with an intravitreal half-life of eight hours after single topical administration. Monthly application of topical etilevodopa showed no alterations in retinal ocular coherence tomography, electroretinography, caspase staining, or TUNEL staining.
At similar concentrations, no difference in ocular penetration of levodopa and etilevodopa was observed. However, etilevodopa was highly soluble and able to be applied at higher topical concentrations. Dopamine exhibited both high solubility and enhanced penetration into the vitreous as compared to other dopaminergic prodrugs.
These findings indicate the potential of topical etilevodopa and dopamine for further study as a therapeutic treatment for myopia.
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