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M. Belokopytov, G. Dubinsky, Y. Epstein, M. Belkin, M. Rosner; Neuroprotective Effect of Copolymer-1 Vaccination in Laser-Induced Retinal Damage . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):5247.
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The retinal damage induced by laser photocoagulation increases manifold by the secondary degeneration process whereby tissues adjacent to the primary lesion are destroyed. Neuroprotective therapy is aimed at minimizing the secondary neural degeneration and maximizing the recovery of a neural tissue after the insult. 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. Purpose: This study tested the neuroprotective ability of Cop-1 to reduce the spread of laser-induced retinal damage. Methods: Standard argon laser lesions were created in 90 DA pigmented rats divided into five groups: two Cop-1 treated groups (animals treated seven days before or immediately after the laser session) and three control groups treated by complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA), saline, or the classical neuroprotective compound MK-801. Results: The histological and morphological evaluations of the lesions 3, 20, and 60 days after the injury revealed significant reduction in photoreceptor loss in the pre-immunized animals at all time points as measured over the central zone of the lesion. The same effect was observed 3 and 20 days after laser session as measured over the whole damaged area. Cop-1 given after the laser injury did not prevent cell loss, while the neuroprotective effect of MK-801 was observed on the third day after the laser session only. Conclusions: 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 effective in ameliorating laser-induced retinal injuries in humans.
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