DMSO uses, side effects, treatment
November 20 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

I have not studied the use of DMSO liquid or cream so I don't have a good understanding of its benefits or side effects.

Autoimmune arthritis
PLoS One. 2016 . DMSO Represses Inflammatory Cytokine Production from Human Blood Cells and Reduces Autoimmune Arthritis. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is currently used as an alternative treatment for various inflammatory conditions as well as for cancer. Despite its widespread use, there is a paucity of data regarding its safety and efficacy as well as its mechanism of action in human cells. Herein, we demonstrate that DMSO has ex-vivo anti-inflammatory activity using Escherichia coli- (E. coli) and herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1)-stimulated whole human blood. Specifically, we found that between 0.5%-2%, DMSO significantly suppressed the expression of many pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). However, a significant reduction in monocyte viability was also observed at 2% DMSO, suggesting a narrow window of efficacy. Anti-inflammatory concentrations of DMSO suppressed E. coli-induced ERK1/2, p38, JNK and Akt phosphorylation, suggesting DMSO acts on these signaling pathways to suppress inflammatory cytokine/chemokine production. Although DMSO induces the differentiation of B16/F10 melanoma cells in vitro, topical administration of DMSO to mice subcutaneously implanted with B16 melanoma cells was ineffective at reducing tumor growth, DMSO was also found to block mouse macrophages from polarizing to either an M1- or an M2-phenotype, which may contribute to its inability to slow tumor growth. Topical administration of DMSO, however, significantly mitigated K/BxN serum-induced arthritis in mice, and this was associated with reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the joints and white blood cell levels in the blood. Thus, while we cannot confirm the efficacy of DMSO as an anti-cancer agent, the use of DMSO in arthritis warrants further investigation to ascertain its therapeutic potential.

Osteoarthritis research
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008. Systematic review of the nutritional supplements dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The findings from all the DMSO studies need to be viewed with caution because of poor methodology including; possible unblinding, and questionable treatment duration and dose. Further studies are now required to identify both the optimum dosage and longer-term safety of MSM and DMSO, and definitive efficacy trials.

DNA protection
Radiats Biol Radioecol. 2014. Effect of dimethyl sulfoxide on the extent of DNA single-strand breaks and alkali-labile sites induced by 365 nm UV-radiation in human blood lymphocyte nucleoids. It is shown that exposure of 365 nm UV radiation at doses of 10, 20 and 50 kJ/m2 induces a dose-dependent increase in DNA single-strand breaks and alkali-labile sites (SSB and ALS) detected by comet and halo assays in human blood lymphocyte nucleoids. Adding 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reduces the SSB and ALS yields--in 3 times. A strong drop in the output of UV-A-induced SSB and ALS in lymphocyte nucleoids in the presence of DMSO shows the leading role of *OH radicals in this DNA damage formation under exposure to 365-nm UV-radiation.

Liquid applied topically
Q. I recently purchased some DMSO roll-on because I was have some inflammation in my calf. The labeling and the sales person were both very mysterious about this product. What are your thoughts?

Q. What is your view re D.M.S.O. liquid and 99 % pure, applied topically on the skin in a physically painful area, or taken orally, for Inflammation and/or pain relief? Nothing else has worked for me in 20 years and pain is the cause of my disability.
   A. I have not studied DMSO in any detail to have a good understanding of this product.

Can you tell me about DMSO? I have heard only good things about it. I know what it is, but is DMSO effective in relieving pain?

what is your opinion of DMSO liquid for use as a topical for arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis?