Methylene blue protects intestinal mucosa from free radical-mediated sublethal radiation damage

William J M Hrushesky, John S. Berestka, Reinhard von Roemeling, Randal Olshefski, Todd R. Langevin, Roger A. Potish, John P. Delaney, Mark Ellefson, Samuel Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Susceptibility of the intestine to radiation damage is a primary reason for the reacon for the failure of external beam radiation to cure intra-abdominal cancer. High-dose irradiation causes intestinal denudation, fluid loss, and resultant shock. Simple and effective methods for protecting the intestine from irradiation damage are not available. Many biological effects of ionizing irradiation are caused by free radical intermediates. We have previously reported that many of the toxicities of doxorubicin, a classic free radical generating anticancer agent, are blocked by methylene blue pretreatment. We have nor found that pretreatment with methylene blue protects rats from intestinal damage, as measured histologically and by quantitative stool blood determinations. Wherease the exact mechanisms of this protection remain elusive, we believe this method of modulating the therapeutic index of ionizing radiation deserves additional preclinical and clinical study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-213
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment--Supported in part by National Cancer Institute grant 2R01CA31635-04, and by a stipend to R. v. Roemeling from Deutsche Krebshilfe, Bonn, West Germany.


  • Enteritis
  • Methylene blue
  • Phytic acid
  • Radiation protection
  • Stool blood


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