The spatiotemporal distribution of drugs in the inner ear cannot be precisely evaluated because of its small area and complex structure. In the present study, we used hyaluronic acid (HA)-dispersed luciferin to image transgenic mice and to determine the effect of HA on controlled drug delivery to the cochlea. GFAP-luc mice, which express luciferase in cochlear spiral ganglion cells, were subcutaneously administered HA-luciferin (HA-sc) or luciferin dissolved in saline (NS-sc) or intraperitoneally administered luciferin dissolved in saline (NS-ip). The bioluminescence of luciferin was monitored in vivo in real time. The peak time and half-life of fluorescence emission were significantly increased in HA-sctreated mice compared with those in NS-sc- and NS-ip-treated mice; however, significant differences were not observed in peak photon counts. We detected differences in the pharmacokinetics of luciferin in the inner ear, including its sustained release, in the presence of HA. The results indicate the clinical potential of using HA for controlled drug delivery to the cochlea.
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