Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) attenuates the inflammatory response in the in vitro intestinal Caco-2 cell model

Sylvie Hollebeeck, Thomas Raas, Neil Piront, Yves-Jacques Schneider, Olivier Toussaint, Yvan Larondelle, Alexandrine During

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This study aimed to investigate dose effects of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) (0.05-1%) on the intestinal inflammatory response in confluent- and differentiated-Caco-2 cells stimulated with interleukin (IL)-1β or a pro-inflammatory cocktail for 24 h. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activity was assayed by incubating inflamed cells with arachidonic acid and then measuring prostaglandin-E(2) (PGE(2)) produced. Soluble mediators (IL-8, IL-6, macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and COX-2-derived PGE(2)) were quantified by enzyme immunoassays and mRNA expression of 33 proteins by high throughput TaqMan Low Density Array. Data showed that DMSO decreased induced IL-6 and MCP-1 secretions in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.05), but not IL-8; these effects were cell development- and stimulus- independent. Moreover, in IL-1β-stimulated confluent-cells, DMSO dose-dependently reduced COX-2-derived PGE(2) (P<0.05). DMSO at 0.5% decreased significantly mRNA levels of 14 proteins involved in the inflammatory response (including IL-6, IL-1α, IL-1β, and COX-2). Thus, DMSO at low concentrations (0.1-0.5%) exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in the in vitro intestinal Caco-2 cell model. This point is important to be taken into account when assessing anti-inflammatory properties of bioactive compounds requiring DMSO as vehicle, such as phenolic compounds, in order to avoid miss-interpretation of the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-75
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide
  • Dinoprostone
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger


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