Nonporous silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) have potential as promising carriers for ophthalmic drugs. However, the in vivo safety of ocular topical SiNPs remains unclear. This study investigated the in vivo safety of oral and ocular topical applications of 100 nm-sized SiNPs in Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were divided into the following four groups: Low-dose oral administration (total 100 mg/kg of SiNPs mixed with food for one week), high-dose oral administration (total 1000 mg/kg of SiNPs mixed with food for one week), ocular topical administration (10 mg/ml concentration, one drop, applied to the right eyes four times a day for one month), or a negative control (no SiNP treatment). The rats were observed for 12 weeks to investigate any signs of general or ocular toxicity. During the observation period, no differences were observed in the body weights, food and water intakes, behaviors and abnormal symptoms of the four groups. No animal deaths occurred. After 12 weeks, hematologic, blood biochemical parameters and ophthalmic examinations revealed no abnormal findings in any of the animals. The lack of toxicity of the SiNPs was further verified in autopsy findings of brain, liver, lung, spleen, heart, kidneys, intestine, eyeballs, and ovaries or testes.
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