Dendrimer-Triamcinolone Acetonide Reduces Neuroinflammation, Pathological Angiogenesis, and Neuroretinal Dysfunction in Ischemic Retinopathy

Hongkwan Cho, Siva P. Kambhampati, Michael J. Lai, Lingli Zhou, Grace Lee, Yangyiran Xie, Qiaoyan Hui, Rangaramanujam M. Kannan, Elia J. Duh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults. Severe visual loss in DR is primarily due to proliferative diabetic retinopathy, characterized by pathologic preretinal angiogenesis driven by retinal ischemia. Microglia, the resident immune cells of the retina, have emerged as a potentially important regulator of pathologic retinal angiogenesis. Corticosteroids including triamcinolone acetonide (TA), known for their antiangiogenic effects, are used in treating retinal diseases, but their use is significantly limited by side effects including cataracts and glaucoma. Generation-4 hydroxyl polyamidoamine dendrimer nanoparticles are utilized to deliver TA to activated microglia in the ischemic retina in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). Following intravitreal injection, dendrimer-conjugated TA (D-TA) exhibits selective localization and sustained retention in activated microglia in disease-associated areas of the retina. D-TA, but not free TA, suppresses inflammatory cytokine production, microglial activation, and preretinal neovascularization in OIR. In addition, D-TA, but not free TA, ameliorates OIR-induced neuroretinal and visual dysfunction. These results indicate that activated microglia are a promising therapeutic target for retinal angiogenesis and neuroprotection in ischemic retinal diseases. Furthermore, dendrimer-based targeted therapy and specifically D-TA constitute a promising treatment approach for DR, offering increased and sustained drug efficacy with reduced side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2000181
JournalAdvanced Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • angiogenesis
  • dendrimer nanoparticle
  • microglia
  • neuroinflammation
  • oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR)
  • targeted drug delivery
  • triamcinolone acetonide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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