gms | German Medical Science

22nd Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society

German Retina Society

26.06. - 27.06.2009, Berlin

Nanotechnology in the treatment of choroidal neovascularization secondary to AMD: First in vitro results using laser-activated gold-nanoparticles

Meeting Abstract

  • Nicole Eter - Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn
  • I. Hahn - Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn
  • F. Levold - Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Bonn
  • J. Groll - DWI, RWTH Aachen
  • H. Keul - DWI, RWTH Aachen
  • G. Huettmann - Institute for Biomedical Optics, University of Luebeck
  • E. Endl - Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Bonn

German Retina Society. 22nd Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society. Berlin, 26.-27.06.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. DocRG2009-21

doi: 10.3205/09rg22, urn:nbn:de:0183-09rg223

This is the English version of the article.
The German version can be found at:

Published: June 29, 2009

© 2009 Eter et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Purpose: To establish a new treatment modality for choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in age-related macular degeneration using laser-activated gold nanoparticles.

Methods: Gold nanorods were synthesized and biofunctionalized for specific targeting of neovascular endothelial cells. Primary retinal endothelial cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) were incubated in vitro with gold nanorods and afterwards treated by laser irradiation of a specific wavelength thereby creating extremely focused heat shocks within a closely defined area. Particle uptake was investigated using light and electron microscopy, cell death and apoptosis were studied by Hoechst and cPARP staining. Systemic pattern distribution of gold nanoparticles following intravenous application in a mouse model was studied histologically.

Results: Light microscopy and electron microscopy demonstrated extracellular binding and intracellular uptake of coated nanoparticles. Cell necrosis could be found immediately after laser irradiation. Furthermore, an additive delayed effect could be induced, as seen in apoptosis measurements 24h after irradiation. In both cases, cell damage was limited to nanorod targeted cells. Laser treatment modalities alone showed no effect on viability of either retinal endothelial cells or pigment epithelial cells. Pharmacokinetic studies in vivo demonstrated that funcionalization with PEG was crucial to bypass filter organs and to achieve accumulation of nanoparticles in the target tissue.