Journal Article

Hematological Effects in F344 Rats and B6C3F1 Mice during the 13–Week Gavage Toxicity Study of Methylene Blue Trihydrate

M. R. Hejtmancik, M. J. Ryan, J. D. Toft, R. L. Persing, P. J. Kurtz and R. S. Chhabra

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 65, issue 1, pages 126-134
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Hematological Effects in F344 Rats and B6C3F1 Mice during the 13–Week Gavage Toxicity Study of Methylene Blue Trihydrate

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Methylene blue trihydrate is used widely as a dye and therapeutic agent. Methylene blue was administered by gavage to 30 animals/sex/dose group in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose suspension at doses of 0, 25, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg. Blood samples from 10 animals/sex/dose group were collected at the end of study weeks 1, 6, and 13. Methylene blue treatment resulted in methemoglobin formation and oxidative damage to red blood cells, leading to a regenerative anemia and a variety of tissue and biochemical changes secondary to erythrocyte injury. An early change was a dose-related increase in methemoglobin, where the response of rats and mice was similar in magnitude. Mice appeared to be more sensitive than rats to the formation of Heinz bodies and the development of anemia that was characterized by a decrease in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and erythrocyte count. Splenomegaly was apparent in all treated mice and in the 100 mg/kg (males only) and 200 mg/kg rats at necropsy. There was a dose-related increase in absolute and relative spleen weight for both species. Microscopic examination revealed increased splenic hematopoiesis in all mice treatment groups and in rats at the 50 mg/kg dose level and above. Splenic congestion and bone marrow hyperplasia were also observed in these rat-dose groups. Mice at the higher doses showed hematopoiesis in the liver and accumulation of hemosiderin in Kupffer cells. These gross and microscopic findings are consistent with the development of hemolytic anemia. A dose-related increase in the reticulocyte count during study weeks 6 and 13 suggested a compensatory response to anemia.

Keywords: methylene blue trihydrate; F344 rats; B6C3F1 mice; methemoglobin and Heinz body formation; splenomegaly; hematopoiesis

Journal Article.  6494 words. 

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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