How DMSO, a widely used solvent, affects spinal cord injury

Ann Vasc Surg. 2008 Jan;22(1):98-105. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2007.07.023. Epub 2007 Dec 20.


The aim of this experimental study was to investigate whether dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) has protective effects on spinal cord ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. New Zealand rabbits were enrolled in the study. In addition to the control group, the study group received 0.1 mL/kg DMSO prior to ischemia. Blood samples were taken to obtain nitrite-nitrate levels during the surgical procedure. After neurological evaluation at 24 hr of reperfusion, lumbar spinal cords were removed for electron microscopic evaluation and malondialdehyde and myeloperoxidase measurements. The mean Tarlov score of the DMSO group was higher than that of the control group. Electron microscopic examination was carried out with tissue samples at 24 hr of reperfusion. The DMSO group had better preservation with the electron microscopic scoring compared to the control group. Malondialdehyde and myeloperoxidase levels were decreased in the DMSO group compared to the control group. Nitrite-nitrate levels were also lower in the DMSO group compared to control at 5 and 30 min of reperfusion. This study demonstrates a considerable neuroprotective effect of DMSO on neurological, biochemical, and histopathological analyses during periods of spinal cord I/R injury in rabbits. Although there was a difference between the DMSO and control groups in all measured parameters in our study, this was not statistically significant. DMSO deserves further investigation related with spinal cord ischemia and reperfusion. We should also consider the effect of DMSO when we use it as a solvent or vehicle during experimental I/R models.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Abdominal / surgery
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / therapeutic use
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Ligation / adverse effects
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Nitrates / metabolism
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Reperfusion Injury / etiology
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Solvents / pharmacology*
  • Solvents / therapeutic use
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / enzymology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / complications
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Ischemia / pathology
  • Time Factors
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Solvents
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Peroxidase
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide