Novel ophthalmic formulation of myriocin: implications in retinitis pigmentosa

Myriocin is an antibiotic derived from Mycelia sterilia, and is a potent inhibitor of serine palmitoyltransferase, the enzyme involved in the first step of sphingosine synthesis. Myriocin, inhibiting ceramide synthesis, has a great potential for treatment of diseases characterized by high ceramide levels in affected tissues, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Drug delivery to the retina is a challenging task, which is generally by-passed through intravitreal injection, that represents a risky invasive procedure. We, therefore, developed and characterized an ophthalmic topical nanotechnological formulation based on a nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) and containing myriocin. The ocular distribution of myriocin in the back of the eye was assessed both in rabbits and mice using LC-MS/MS. Moreover, rabbit retinal sphingolipid and ceramides levels, after myriocin-NLC (Myr-NLC) eye drops treatment, were assessed. The results demonstrated that Myr-NLC formulation is well tolerated and provided effective levels of myriocin in the back of the eye both in rabbits and mice. We found that Myr-NLC eye drops treatment was able to significantly decrease retinal sphingolipid levels. In conclusion, these data suggest that the Myr-NLC ophthalmic formulation is suitable for pharmaceutical development and warrants further clinical evaluation of this eye drops for the treatment of RP.