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Laser photocoagulation of pig retina induced breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier, with the appearance of serum proteins in the vitreous as determined by sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and immunoblotting techniques. Vitreous from lasered eyes inhibited the proliferation of cultured retinal microvascular endothelial cells in comparison with vitreous from non-lasered control eyes, and the inhibitory effect in the lasered eyes persisted for at least seven days. Inhibition was specific for endothelial cells, since no effect was observed when retinal pericytes or Tenon's fibroblasts were the target cells. These results suggest that indirect scatter photocoagulation may induce regression of neovascularisation by causing breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier and thus releasing into the vitreous serum components which result in inhibition of retinal microvascular endothelial cell growth.