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Biochem Pharmacol. 2003 Apr 1;65(7):1035-41.

Multidisciplinary utilization of dimethyl sulfoxide: pharmacological, cellular, and molecular aspects.

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Instituto de BioquĂ­mica/Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Egas Moniz, P-1649-028 Lisbon, Portugal.


DMSO is an amphipathic molecule with a highly polar domain and two apolar methyl groups, making it soluble in both aqueous and organic media. It is one of the most common solvents for the in vivo administration of several water-insoluble substances. Despite being frequently used as a solvent in biological studies and as a vehicle for drug therapy, the side-effects of DMSO (undesirable for these purposes) are apparent from its utilization in the laboratory (both in vivo and in vitro) and in clinical settings. DMSO is a hydrogen-bound disrupter, cell-differentiating agent, hydroxyl radical scavenger, intercellular electrical uncoupler, intracellular low-density lipoprotein-derived cholesterol mobilizing agent, cryoprotectant, solubilizing agent used in sample preparation for electron microscopy, antidote to the extravasation of vesicant anticancer agents, and topical analgesic. Additionally, it is used in the treatment of brain edema, amyloidosis, interstitial cystitis, and schizophrenia. Several systemic side-effects from the use of DMSO have been reported, namely nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemolysis, rashes, renal failure, hypertension, bradycardia, heart block, pulmonary edema, cardiac arrest, and bronchospasm. Looking at the multitude of effects of DMSO brought to light by these studies, it is easily understood how many researchers working with DMSO (or studying one of its specific effects) might not be fully aware of the experiences of other groups who are working with it but in a different context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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