Neuroprotective vaccination with copolymer-1 decreases laser-induced retinal damage

Mark Belokopytov*, Galina Dubinsky, Michael Belkin, Mordechai Rosner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The retinal damage induced by laser photocoagulation increases manifold by the secondary degeneration process whereby tissues adjacent to the primary lesion are destroyed. The neuroprotective effect of immunization by glatiramer acetate (Copolymer-1, Cop-1) in adjuvant was previously demonstrated in models of retina, optic nerve, brain, and spinal cord lesions. The present study tested the neuroprotective ability of Cop-1 to reduce the spread of laser-induced retinal damage. Standard argon laser lesions were created in 72 DA pigmented rats divided into four groups: two Cop-1 treated groups (animals treated seven days before or immediately after the laser session) and two control groups treated respectively by saline or the effective but toxic neuroprotective compound MK-801. The histological and morphological evaluations of the lesions 3, 20, and 60 days after the injury revealed significant reduction in photoreceptor loss of the retinas of the pre-immunized animals. Cop-1 given after the laser injury did not prevent cell loss significantly, while the neuroprotective effect of MK-801 was observed only on the third day after the laser injury. The results show that pre-immunization with Cop-1 is neuroprotective in unmyelinated (gray matter) neural tissue such as the retina. This approach may be of clinical significance in ameliorating laser-induced retinal injuries in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventLaser and Noncoherent Light Ocular Effects: Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment III - San Jose,CA, United States
Duration: 26 Jan 200327 Jan 2003


  • Copolymer-1
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Laser injury
  • Neuroprotection
  • Retina
  • Retinal injury


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