Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.541, 36-42, 2021
Methylene blue induces an analgesic effect by significantly decreasing neural firing rates and improves pain behaviors in rats
Methylene blue (MB) is a blue cationic thiazine dye and currently used in different medical settings. Notably, there have been several attempts to introduce MB for attenuating pain in the last decade. Some clinical studies reported remarkable results, which, however, have been much debated. In addition, accumulating evidence have revealed that MB diminishes voltage-gated sodium channel currents. Accordingly, in the present study, we conducted in vivo experiments, including in vivo single nerve recording and behavioral test, to investigate whether MB dampens neural firing rates and ultimately contributes to pain relief. As a result, neural firing rates significantly decreased and finally converged to zero after MB administration. This event lasted longer than that of lidocaine and was dose-dependently modulated. Furthermore, there was a marked improvement in pain behaviors. The withdrawal threshold and latency of hind paws significantly rose post-MB administration. Therefore, these results demonstrate that MB lessens pain by significantly weakening neural excitability, which implies a strong possibility that this dye may be developed as a pain-relieving medication in the future. This is the first in vivo study to elucidate the effect of MB on nerves and pain relief. (C) 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.