Multimodal randomized functional MR imaging of the effects of methylene blue in the human brain

Pavel Rodriguez, Wei Zhou, Douglas W. Barrett, Wilson Altmeyer, Juan E. Gutierrez, Jinqi Li, Jack L. Lancaster, Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the sustained-attention and memory-enhancing neural correlates of the oral administration of methylene blue in the healthy human brain. Materials and Methods: The institutional review board approved this prospective, HIPAA-compliant, randomized, double-blinded, placebocontrolled clinical trial, and all patients provided informed consent. Twenty-six subjects (age range, 22-62 years) were enrolled. Functional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed with a psychomotor vigilance task (sustained attention) and delayed match-to-sample tasks (short-term memory) before and 1 hour after administration of low-dose methylene blue or a placebo. Cerebrovascular reactivity effects were also measured with the carbon dioxide challenge, in which a 2 × 2 repeatedmeasures analysis of variance was performed with a drug (methylene blue vs placebo) and time (before vs after administration of the drug) as factors to assess drug × time between group interactions. Multiple comparison correction was applied, with cluster-corrected P<.05 indicating a significant difference. Results: Administration of methylene blue increased response in the bilateral insular cortex during a psychomotor vigilance task (Z = 2.9-3.4, P = .01-.008) and functional MR imaging response during a short-term memory task involving the prefrontal, parietal, and occipital cortex (Z = 2.9-4.2, P = .03-.0003). Methylene blue was also associated with a 7% increase in correct responses during memory retrieval (P = .01). Conclusion: Low-dose methylene blue can increase functional MR imaging activity during sustained attention and short-term memory tasks and enhance memory retrieval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalRadiology
Volume281
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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