The use of liposomes as carriers for the delivery of biologically active molecules into the eye is of major interest. Indeed, encapsulation of biologically active molecules in liposomes may increase their bioavailability and may induce a sustained release, thus avoiding repeated intraocular injections and reducing side effects. We describe here the fate of rhodamine-conjugated liposomes (Rh-Lip) injected into the vitreous of normal Lewis rats. Twenty-four hours after intravitreal injection fluorescent liposomes were detected in the vitreous, the inner layer of the retina and to a lesser extent in the anterior segment of the eye. In addition, numerous Rh-Lip were also observed in the episclera and conjunctival stroma, in conjunctival lymphatic vessels and cervical lymph nodes (LN) draining the conjunctiva and the eye. In the LN, Rh-Lip were taken up by resident macrophages adjacent to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Thus, intravitreal injection of anti-inflammatory drugs loaded in liposomes could modulate the ocular immune microenvironment. In addition the passage of drugs into the cervical LN could alter the immune status of these LN and contribute to the regulation of intraocular inflammation. Our results suggest that this phenomenon should be taken into account to design new therapies based on intraocular drug administration.

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