Background and Objectives: To functionally evaluate the efficacy of glatiramer acetate (Cop-1) as a neuroprotective treatment for laser-induced retinal injuries in rats. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Using standard lasering and flash ERG techniques, we evaluated the effect of photocoagulation and of Cop-1 treatment on retinal function 3, 20, and 60 days after covering one-half of the retina with of 23 rats with argon laser lesions. Results: Significant neuroprotective effects of Cop-1 treatment on functional recovery were observed 20 and 60 days after retinal photocoagulation. Two months post-lasering, the amplitude of electroretinographic signals in lasered eyes (mean ± SEM) was 99.5 ± 10.2% of that of intact eyes in the Cop-1-treated group and 85.8 ± 5.5% in the untreated lasered control group (P<0.05). Conclusions: Cop-1 immunization in rats is neuroprotective against laser-induced injuries to the outer retina and improves functional recovery of the injured retina. Studies have documented effective neuroprotective treatment after laser damage to myelinated neurons, but this is the first report of neuroprotection of nonmyelinated neurons.
- Retinal injury
- Wound healing