Coming from a non-biology background, I've realised many academic papers on experiments use DMSO as like a control. This is an example:

KN-93, a specific inhibitor of CaMKII inhibits human hepatic stellate cell proliferation in vitro

What make DMSO so special that so many scientists use it for their experiment and report their results? Why do we need it in the first place?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Its likely used as a control when its also being used as a solvent, not everything can be done in water $\endgroup$
    – zacdav
    May 1 '18 at 4:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @zacdav Make your comment an answer, because that's the answer to the question. $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    May 1 '18 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ Note that this is often described as a vehicle control. Essentially you are controlling for the effect of the solvent (ie the vehicle) used to introduce the compound of interest. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    May 2 '18 at 2:33

DMSO can be used as a solvent for a range of experiments. In these cases it makes sense to use the solvent as the control.


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