Dimethyl sulfoxide in central nervous system trauma

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1975 Jan 27;243:362-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1975.tb25377.x.


Dimethyl sulfoxide has been tested in various experimental injuries of the central nervous system in relation to other therapies. It appears to be a useful drug in acute extradural mass-forming lesions, middle cerebral artery occlusion, respiratory anoxia, and spinal cord injuries, in rhesus and squirrel monkeys, dogs, and rats. The data from these studies suggest that in the experimental models used, DMSO is clearly superior to no treatment, and appears to be more generally effective than other comparable treatments. No satisfactory answer has yet been found to explain the beneficial effects of DMSO, but several hypothetical suggestions are offered; their validation hinges primarily on further confirmatory evidence. Further experiments with our present models and alternative research lines are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / drug therapy*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / metabolism
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Haplorhini
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation
  • Intracranial Pressure / drug effects
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Respiration / drug effects
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Time Factors


  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide