Pigmented ocular tissues contain melanin within the intracellular melanosomes. Drugs bind to melanin at varying extent that ranges from no binding to extensive binding. Binding may lead to drug accumulation to the pigmented tissues and prolonged drug retention in the melanin containing cells. Therefore, melanin binding is an important feature that affects ocular drug delivery and biodistribution, but this topic has not been reviewed since 1998. In this review, we present current knowledge on ocular melanin, melanosomes and binding of drugs to pigmented cells and tissues. In vitro, in vivo and in silico methods in the field were critically evaluated, because the literature in this field can be confusing if the reader does not properly understand the methodological aspects. Literature analysis includes a comprehensive table of literature data on melanin binding of drugs. Furthermore, we aimed to give some insights beyond the current literature by making a chemical structure based classification model for melanin binding of drugs and kinetic simulations that revealed significant interplay between melanin binding and drug permeability across the melanosomal and plasma membranes. Overall, more mechanistic and systematic research is needed before the impact of melanin binding on ocular drug delivery can be properly understood and predicted.
Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Feb 15, 2018
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