Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), and streptokinase were evaluated for their ability to reduce postsurgical adhesion formation in a rat uterine horn devascularization and serosal injury model in a blinded, randomized study. Small doses of tPA, uPA, or streptokinase were delivered over approximately a 4-day period either from a biodegradable hydrogel matrix or as four daily intraperitoneal injections. The hydrogel was formed upon the uterine horns by photopolymerization of an aqueous precursor solution containing dissolved drug. A control group that received no treatment had an average extent of adhesion formation of 72 +/- 15% (mean +/- SEM, percentage of the length of the uterine horns involved in adhesions). Application of this formulation of the hydrogel alone reduced the extent of adhesion formation to 22 +/- 10% by functioning as a mechanical barrier. When tPA was released from the hydrogel, adhesion formation was reduced to 4 +/- 3%, while when tPA was given by intraperitoneal injection, adhesion formation was only reduced to 49 +/- 8%. Local delivery of urokinase reduced adhesion formation to 6 +/- 6%, but intraperitoneal injection of urokinase did not reduce adhesion formation. Streptokinase did not reduce adhesion formation when administered by intraperitoneal injection and increased adhesion formation to 45 +/- 9% when locally released relative to the hydrogel alone. These results suggest that both tPA and uPA may be used to prevent adhesion formation when delivered locally. [on SciFinder (R)]