Rasagiline-induced delay of retinal ganglion cell death in experimental glaucoma in rats

Hani Levkovitch-Verbin*, Shelly Vander, Shlomo Melamed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To evaluate the neuroprotective effect of rasagiline (N-propargyl-1 (R)-aminoindan), a selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor, on the survival of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in glaucomatous rat eyes. Rasagiline is an FDA approved anti-Parkinson disease drug with neuroprotective capabilities that were shown in many models of brain damage. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The neuroprotective effect of daily intraperitoneal (IP) injections of rasagiline (0.5 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg) was evaluated and compared with saline injections using the translimbal photocoagulation model of experimental glaucoma in Wistar rats. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured before and immediately after the laser treatment, and then weekly. Seven weeks after the induction of glaucoma, the animals were killed, the eyes were enucleated and the retinas were prepared as whole mounts. Fluoro-gold had been injected into the superior colliculus 10 days before enucleation, and RGC survival was evaluated by counting the surviving labeled RGCs in a masked way. RESULTS: All rats (n=29) displayed significant IOP elevation and RGC damage. Seven weeks after the induction of glaucoma, the mean RGC survival was 43±8% in the rasagiline 3 mg/kg-treated group and 43±9% in the rasagiline 0.5 mg/kg-treated group compared with 23%±4% in the saline-treated (control) group (P=0.01 and P=0.02, respectively). CONCLUSION: Systemic treatment with rasagiline significantly enhances the survival of RGCs in experimental glaucoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-277
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Glaucoma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • glaucoma
  • neuroprotection
  • rasagiline
  • retinal ganglion cells


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