Methylene Blue Facilitates Memory Retention in Zebrafish in a Dose-Dependent Manner

Zebrafish. 2016 Dec;13(6):489-494. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2016.1282. Epub 2016 Aug 2.


Methylene blue (MB) is an FDA-grandfathered drug with memory-enhancing effects at low doses, but opposite effects at high doses. We investigated the effects of four MB doses (0.1, 0.5, 5.0, or 10.0 μM) on zebrafish memory retention in the T-maze task. After training fish to swim into a certain arm of the T-maze, the fish were placed into a tank containing one of the four MB doses or a control tank containing blue food dye. Subsequently, fish were placed into the T-maze for memory retention testing. Results indicated that MB produced hormetic dose-response effects on memory. Fish that received the 0.5 μM dose performed significantly better at the T-maze than those that received higher doses. Fish who received 5.0 μM did not exhibit a significant difference in performance from control fish, and the fish that received the 10.0 μM dose performed significantly worse than lower doses. These findings support the utility of zebrafish in comparative research and their potential value for testing of MB and other neuropsychopharmacological treatments in animal models of memory disorders.

Keywords: T-maze; hormetic dose-response; memory; methylene blue; zebrafish.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Methylene Blue