Extravasation of biodegradable microspheres in the rat brain

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Drug development for neurological diseases is greatly impeded by the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We and others previously reported on extravasation of micrometer-sized particles from the cerebral microcirculation - across the BBB - into the brain tissue over the course of several weeks. This mechanism could potentially be used for sustained parenchymal drug delivery after extravasation of biodegradable microspheres. As a first step toward this goal, we set out to evaluate the extravasation potential in the rat brain of three classes of biodegradable microspheres with drug-carrying potential, having a median diameter of 13 µm (80% within 8-18 µm) and polyethylene glycol concentrations of 0%, 24% and 36%. Extravasation, capillary recanalization and tissue damage were determined in a rat cerebral microembolization model at day 14 after microsphere injection. Microspheres of all three classes had the potential to extravasate from the vessel into the brain parenchyma, with microspheres without polyethylene glycol extravasating the fastest. Microembolization with biodegradable microspheres led to impaired local capillary perfusion, which was substantially restored after bead extravasation. We did not observe overt tissue damage after microembolization with any microsphere: we found very limited BBB disruption (IgG extravasation), no microgliosis (Iba1 staining) and no large neuronal infarctions (NeuN staining). In conclusion, biodegradable microspheres with different polymer compositions can extravasate into the brain parenchyma while causing minimal tissue damage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2194579
Pages (from-to)2194579
Number of pages1
JournalDrug Delivery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Microsphere extravasation
  • angiophagy
  • biodegradable polymer
  • blood-brain barrier
  • drug delivery

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