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April 26, 1965

Dimethyl Sulfoxide in Musculoskeletal Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland. Mr. Herschler is also with the Applications Research, Chemical Products Division, Crown Zellerbach Corporation, Camas, Wash.

JAMA. 1965;192(4):309-313. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080170037009

Recent discovery that dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), a versatile commercial solvent, possesses unique medicinal properties opens up a new and rewarding field of pharmacotherapeutics. Dimethyl sulfoxide was first synthesized in 1867. Today, it is available in crude form as a by-product of the paper pulp industry, and during the past five years it has found extensive use as an industrial solvent. Its value in protecting biologic specimens against freezing damage is well known.

Several years ago one of the authors (S.J.) of this paper consulted another (R.H.) relative to obtaining dimethyl sulfoxide for protecting surgically removed kidneys and hearts against freezing damage prior to transplantation. On this occasion one author mentioned that he had observed that DMSO enhanced the penetration of dyes into human skin and possessed the property of rapid absorption through the bark or roots of trees and plants. It had been noted that DMSO enhanced the penetration of