Reduction and accumulation of methylene blue by the lung

R. D. Bongard, G. S. Krenz, J. H. Linehan, D. L. Roerig, M. P. Merker, J. L. Widell, C. A. Dawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We studied the disposition of methylene blue added to the perfusate passing through isolated perfused rabbit lungs. Experiments were carried out in a recirculating or single-pass mode, the latter with either a steady infusion or bolus injection of the dye in its blue oxidized form (MB+) or in its colorless reduced leukomethylene blue form (MBH). The recirculation experiments revealed that the dye was taken up by the lungs and that a substantial fraction (~16%) of the MB+ entering the pulmonary artery was reduced before it emerged from the pulmonary veins. Sequestration of the dye by the lungs was a relatively slow process, and the blue color of the lungs at a time when there was little dye left in the perfusate suggests that much of the sequestered dye was in the oxidized form. The results from the single- pass bolus and steady infusion experiments suggest that MBH diffuses rapidly between perfusate and tissue and that it is more soluble in the tissue than in the perfusates used in the study. In this context, the concept of 'solubility' includes the impact of the rapidly equilibrating associations of the dye with the perfusate albumin and tissue components. The observed characteristics of the disposition of the methylene blue within the lungs and the rapid rate of its reduction on passage through the lungs suggest that it may be useful to evaluate the possibility that changes in reduction, uptake, and/or sequestration rates may reflect alterations in the metabolic function of the lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1480-1491
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994


  • catalase
  • hypoxia
  • oxidation-reduction
  • protein binding
  • rabbit lungs
  • superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduction and accumulation of methylene blue by the lung'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this