The aim was to investigate the proteolytic activity of plasmin and its long-term complications. Plasmin was injected into the vitreous cavity of rabbits’ eyes. Slit lamp biomicroscopy and electroretinography were performed. Rabbits were serially sacrificed at four months, and globes fixated and prepared for light and transmission electron microscopy. In both the plasmin-injected and control eyes, electroretinography showed a transient decrease in the amplitude, but this recovered to the baseline level in a week. Under the light microscope, the plasmin-treated eyes had a smooth retinal surface, implying separation of the vitreous cortex from the retina. In the control eyes, the collagen fibers remained on the retinal surface. By transmission electron microscopy, the plasmin-treated eyes showed a vitreous-free retinal surface, but no vitreoretinal separation was observed in the control eyes. Plasmin induces a cleavage between the vitreous and the internal limiting membrane, with no long-term complications, so may be a useful pharmacologic adjunct to vitrectomy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS