Blue Dye Could Help With Spinal Injuries

Injured rat treated with BBG.  Image Credit: Takahiro Takano/University of Rochester

Injured rat treated with BBG. Image Credit: Takahiro Takano/University of Rochester

A recent study finds that a dye, Brilliant Blue G (BBG),  similar to Blue No. 1, the dye used in Gatorade and M&Ms could be helpful in recovering from spinal cord injuries.  Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center injected rodents with BBG after spinal cord injuries.  The dye reduced the amount of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  In a previous study the same scientists had shown that ATP, after a spinal cord injury, pours energy into injured cells.  This overdose actually causes harm by killing healthy motor neuron cells near the injury.  While the rodents couldn’t simply walk again after the injection, they were able to move within weeks.

As for use in humans, the researchers know that BBG isn’t toxic because we eat blue food all the time.  But, of course, we don’t eat enough to turn us blue, a side effect for the rodents.  So, a lot work is necessary before there is testing in humans.  Although, the KAMS Blog thinks those blue rats are super cute.  For more information on the study, see ScienceNews.

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