Sustained local drug delivery to the arterial wall via biodegradable microspheres

Vishva Dev, Neal Eigler, Michael C. Fishbein, Youqin Tian, Anthony Hickey, Eldad Rechavia, James S. Forrester, Frank Litvack*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was designed to evaluate the feasibility of applying locally delivered polylactic acid microspheres for drug delivery to the arterial wall. To study drug persistence, rhodamine-loaded microspheres were infused into one carotid artery of 14 rabbits and plain rhodamine solution into the other by using a porous balloon. To study tissue response, plain microspheres and dexamethasone-loaded microspheres were infused into the carotid arteries of another group of rabbits. To study the antiproliferative effects of locally delivered drug, 20 rabbits were subjected to overstretch balloon injury to both carotid arteries and divided into 4 groups: injury alone, plain microspheres, dexamethasone-loaded microspheres, and microspheres containing colchicine and dexamethasone. Fluorescent microspheres persisted in the vessel wall for 4 wk, whereas rhodamine without microspheres disappeared at 72 h. Histopathologic studies in arteries infused with unloaded microspheres showed inflammatory cell infiltrate with polymorphonuclear cells at 1 wk and macrophages and giant cells at 4 wk. Arteries infused with dexamethasone-loaded microspheres did not show any inflammatory cell infiltrate. Local delivery of dexamethasone or dexamethasone plus colchicine did not result in significant change in the intima-to-media ratio or in residual lumen following balloon injury. Polylactic acid microspheres may be used for prolonged delivery of drugs or other bioactive agents locally to the arterial wall. They induce an inflammatory reaction that is suppressable by dexamethasone in the microspheres. Dexamethasone or dexamethasone and colchicine delivered via this system, however, failed to reduce the degree of intimal hyperplasia after overstretch balloon injury to the rabbit carotid arteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-332
Number of pages9
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Diagnosis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Angioplasty
  • Local drug delivery
  • Microspheres


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