Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a well-known hydroxyl radical scavenger, which is readily absorbed through biological membranes. We studied the effects of locally applied DMSO on acute spinal cord injury. Either 10% DMSO in saline (n=8) or saline alone (n=7) was applied directly to the exposed cervical spinal cord of rats 1 hour after clip compression injury of 26 g force for 1 minute. The outcomes measured were spinal cord blood flow and evoked potentials. Spinal cord blood flow was not significantly different between these two groups. Although the evoked potentials showed spontaneous recovery after injury, there was no significant difference between the groups. In this study we failed to show any beneficial effects from topical application of high-dose DMSO on spinal cord blood flow or evoked potentials after acute spinal cord injury
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