Neuroscience letters

Effect of dimethyl sulfoxide in cerebellar mutant Lurcher mice.

PMID 23570728


DMSO has been many times described as harmless substance, beneficial in various diseases or pathological states, including brain injury or ischemia. Using Lurcher mutant mice suffering from genetically determined olivocerebellar degeneration and normal wild type mice, we examined the effect of DMSO on spontaneous motor activity and spatial learning and orientation ability. The acute effect of DMSO was studied in mice aged 3, 6, 9 and 22 weeks. DMSO treatment decreased spontaneous activity in the open field and swimming speed in the Morris water maze in both Lurcher mutant and wild type mice. While saline-treated Lurcher mice showed age-related decline of spatial memory in the Morris water maze in DMSO-treated ones such decline did not occur. The mechanism of the effect of DMSO remains unclear. A possible explanation could be modulation of the brain perfusion and metabolism in the aging brain. The improvement of learning ability could be also mediated by a tranquilizing effect of DMSO reducing stress-induced behavioral disinhibition which is supposed to interfere with learning process in Lurcher mutants. Future studies which would investigate DMSO effects in other models of neurodegenerative diseases are necessary to verify its potential therapeutic impact.