Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important signal protein in vertebrate nervous development, promoting neurogenesis, neuronal patterning, and glial cell growth. Bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF agent, has been extensively used for controlling pathological retinal neovascularization in adult and newborn patients, although its effect on the developing retina remains largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of bevacizumab on cell death, proliferation, and differentiation in newborn rat retina. Methods: Retinal explants of sixty 2-day-old Lister hooded rats were obtained after eye enucleation and maintained in culture media with or without bevacizumab for 2 days. Immunohistochemical staining was assessed against proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA, to detect cell proliferation); caspase-3 and beclin-1 (to investigate cell death); and vimentin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP, markers of glial cells). Gene expressions were quantified by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results from treatment and control groups were compared.Results: No significant difference in the staining intensity (on immunohistochemistry) of PCNA, caspase-3, beclin-1, and GFAP, or in the levels of PCNA, caspase-3, beclin-1, and vimentin mRNA was observed between the groups. However, a significant increase in vimentin levels and a significant decrease in GFAP mRNA expression were observed in bevacizumab-treated retinal explants compared with controls.Conclusions: Bevacizumab did not affect cell death or proliferation in early developing rat retina but appeared to interfere with glial cell maturation by increasing vimentin levels and downregulating GFAP gene expression. Thus, we suggest anti-VEGF agents be used with caution in developing retinal tissue.