DMSO for tissue culture use

Jody K. Hirsh jkh141 at
Thu Jun 1 13:11:06 EST 1995

In article <D9G68v.Lvv at>, ar229 at FreeNet.Carleton.CA 
>We use DMSO as a solvent when adding retinoids to cultured cells.  
>we have been noticing that the DMSO alone has been having a toxic 
>on the cells.  Should we be using a special grade of DMSO (we have been
>using ACS grade from BDH)?  Any other suggestions to avoid cytotoxicity 
>be appreciated.  Thanks.
>Allison Haggarty          ar229 at
>                          mdah at
DMSO itself is used as a differentiating agent (generally at 1to 2 %)!  I 
used to differentiate N1E-115 mouse neuroblastoma cells. You do not 
mention what the final DMSO concentration is in your medium, so make 
sure it is no more than 0.1%.  You may even consider doing a vehicle 
control or switch to ethanol (also keeping the concentration low). Fresh 
DMSO does sound like a good idea. Especially if someone else has been 
using it and contaminated it with  some other chemical! Keep your own 
bottle for tissue culture work. Just use it in the hood and with sterile 
technique. Also, store your stock solution of the retinoids at -20 and make 
fresh solution every few months or so.
 Also, I would not use any type of sterilizing filter (syringe, etc. 0.22 um)  
on the DMSO itself or the solution -- you may be extracting something from 
the filter apparatus into your solution/medium.

DMSO is a very interesting solvent. Because of its ability to differentiate 
cells and inhibit cell division it has been used as an anti-inflammatory 
compound.  Use in humans though is only FDA-approved for treating the 
bladder disease interstitital cystitis. It also gives you garlicky breath!
Hope this helps! Email me if you have any other questions.

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