DMSO some additional comments/clarifications....

Willy A Verheulpen waverheu at
Fri Dec 3 03:27:46 EST 1993

In article <2dltqe$js1 at> wilesm at (Marc Wiles) writes:
>Path: rc1!ub4b!!uunet!!!!!not-for-mail
>From: wilesm at (Marc Wiles)
>Subject: DMSO some additional comments/clarifications....
>Message-ID: <2dltqe$js1 at>
>Date: 2 Dec 93 13:30:22 GMT
>Organization: The George Washington University
>Lines: 31
>Xref: rc1 sci.chem:7563 bionet.general:3304

 >Per my comments on DMSO in terms of carcinogenesis, teratogenesis, etc.:

 >Perhaps I should have been more specific.  It is possible that any such
 >activity attributed to DMSO is a function of the compounds ability to act
 >as a carrier for almost anything.  In many instances, substances that
 >can't be solubilized in aqueous media are readily soluble in DMSO.  It is
 >a fantastic vehicle for solubilization.  In part, that is the problem. As
 >such any potentially carcinogenic agent is readily delivered by DMSO.

 >However, it is also very likely that DMSO may indeed have carcinogenic
 >properties.  In biological systems, DMSO is used as a lipid/membrane
 >modifying agent.  It will easily alter membrane function, protein
 >distribution, etc.  As such, it is not surprising that the agent could
 >cause genetic alterations at the cellular level (ie. via nuclear membrane
 >modification).  Also, it should be noted that in experimental settings,
 >DMSO is actually used *because* of it's ability to transform cells, for
 >example, as a differentiating agent for myeloblastoid cell types (U937
 >cell lines) to force polymorphonuclear leukocyte-like cell type formation.

 >In essence, some of the commentary I've heard is that DMSO is currently
 >considered much as compounds like acetone used to real hazard. 
 >The reality has become somewhat different.



 >Dr. Marc Wiles
 >George Washington University Medical Center
I fully second these statements. We used DMSO in fairly large quantities
for preparing reagents in an Amino Acid analyser. I frankly hated it because
one tends to get 'over' sensitive to the product & even the vapors were
capable of giving you a nasty taste in the mouth even by just entering the
analysis room. Furthermore the product, as manufactured by an American
company, had a huge label saying that "...the toxic properties & bio hazard
of this product have not fully been investigated so utmost care in the 
manipulation of the compound is recommended ..."
Well, having had a training in chemistry, that's surely enough to scare me
off !

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