Vitreoretinal explant

Commonly used acronym: VR explant

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Animal derived cells / tissues / organs
Species from which cells/tissues/organs are derived
Type of cells/tissues/organs
Retina with vitreous attached


Method keywords
  • intravitreal injection
  • ocular delivery
  • retinal delivery
  • nanomedicines
  • vitreal mobility
  • inner limiting membrane
Scientific area keywords
  • ocular delivery
  • nanomedicines
  • intravitreal stability
  • retinal delivery
  • bovine eyes
Method description

Retinal gene delivery via intravitreal injection is hampered by various physiological barriers present in the eye of which the vitreoretinal (VR) interface represents the most serious hurdle. We present a retinal explant model especially designed to study the role of this interface as a barrier for the penetration of vectors into the retina. In contrast to all existing explant models, the developed model is bovine-derived and more importantly, keeps the vitreous attached to the retina at all times to guarantee an intact VR interface. After ex vivo intravitreal injection into the living retinal explant, the route of fluorescent carriers across the VR interface (vitreous and inner limiting membrane) can be tracked.

Method status
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


Representative vitreous and inner limiting membrane intravitreal injections possible.

  • Only viable for 1-2 days ;
  • No vitreal flow or clearance pathways present.

Could be adapted to whole eye model with perfusion to mimick vitreal flows.

References, associated documents and other information


Karen Peynshaert, Joke Devoldere, Valérie Forster, Serge Picaud, Christian Vanhove, Stefaan C. De Smedt & Katrien Remaut (2017) Toward smart design of retinal drug carriers: a novel bovine retinal explant model to study the barrier role of the vitreoretinal interface, Drug Delivery, 24:1, 1384-1394, DOI: 10.1080/10717544.2017.1375578

Contact person

Katrien Remaut


Ghent University (UGent)
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Flemish Region