PLoS One. 2016 Mar 31;11(3):e0152538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152538. eCollection 2016.

DMSO Represses Inflammatory Cytokine Production from Human Blood Cells and Reduces Autoimmune Arthritis.

Elisia I1, Nakamura H1, Lam V1, Hofs E1, Cederberg R1, Cait J2, Hughes MR2, Lee L1, Jia W3, Adomat HH4, Guns ES4, McNagny KM2, Samudio I1, Krystal G1.

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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-inflammatorycytokines/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.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2019 Sep 1;378:114641. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.114641. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Adoptive transfer of DMSO-induced regulatory T cells exhibits a similar preventive effect compared to an in vivo DMSO treatment for chemical-induced experimental encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis in mice.

Lin GJ1, Wu CH2, Yu CC3, Lin JR4, Liu XD2, Chen YW5, Chang HM6, Hong ZJ6, Cheng CP1, Sytwu HK7, Huang SH8.

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Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is a severe complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD). This disease leads to intestinal obstruction with or without peritonitis. The imbalance between the populations of Th17 and regulatory T (Treg) cells (higher Th17 cells and lower Treg cells) is part of the pathogenesis of EPS formation.

We demonstrated that dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) effectively inhibited autoimmune diabetes recurrence in the islet transplantation of NOD mice via the induction of the differentiation of Treg cells. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of DMSO in the inhibition of EPS formation by a mouse model. 

 * Under DMSO treatment, the thickening of the parietal and visceral peritoneum was significantly reduced.

 * The populations of CD4, CD8, and IFN-γ-producing CD4 and CD8 T cells were decreased.

 ** The populations of IL-4-producing CD4 T lymphocytes, IL-10-producing CD4 T lymphocytes, CD4 CD69 T lymphocytes and Treg lymphocytes were increased.

 *** The expression levels of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-17a, TNF-α and IL-23, in ascites, were significantly decreased following the DMSO treatment.

Furthermore, the differentiation of Treg cells was induced by DMSO from naïve CD4 T cells in vitro, and these cells were adoptively transferred into the EPS mice and significantly prevented EPS formation, exhibiting a comparable effect to the in vivo DMSO treatment.

We also demonstrated that the differentiation of Treg cells by DMSO occurred via the activation of STAT5 by its epigenetic effect, without altering the PI3K-AKT-mTOR or Raf-ERK pathways. Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that in vivo DMSO treatment suppresses EPS formation in a mouse model. Furthermore, the adoptive transfer of Treg cells that were differentiated from naïve CD4 T cells by an in vitro DMSO treatment exhibited a similar effect to the in vivo DMSO treatment for the prevention of EPS formation.

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