Methylene blue and proflavine are fluorescent dyes used to stain nucleic acid from the molecular level to the tissue level. Already clinically used for sentinel node mapping, detection of neuroendocrine tumors, methemoglobinemia, septic shock, ifosfamide-induced encephalopathy, and photodynamic inactivation of RNA viruses, the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effect of methylene blue has been demonstrated in different in vitro and in vivo studies. Proflavine was used as a disinfectant and bacteriostatic agent against many gram-positive bacteria, as well as a urinary antiseptic involved in highlighting cell nuclei. At the tissue level, the anti-inflammatory effects of methylene blue protect against pulmonary, renal, cardiac, pancreatic, ischemic-reperfusion lesions, and fevers. First used for their antiseptic and antiviral activity, respectively, methylene blue and proflavine turned out to be excellent dyes for diagnostic and treatment purposes. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that both dyes are efficient as perfusion and tissue tracers and permitted to evaluate the minimal efficient concentration in different species, as well as their pharmacokinetics and toxicity. This review aims to identify the optimal concentrations of methylene blue and proflavine that can be used for in vivo experiments to highlight the vascularization of the skin in the case of a perforasome (both as a tissue tracer and in vascular mapping), as well as their effects on tissues. This review is intended to be a comparative and critical presentation of the possible applications of methylene blue (MB) and proflavine (PRO) in the surgical field, and the relevant biomedical findings from specialized literature to date are discussed as well.
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