Dimethyl sulfoxide protects Escherichia coli from rapid antimicrobial-mediated killing

Hongfei Mi, Dai Wang, Yunxin Xue, Zhi Zhang, Jianjun Niu, Yuzhi Hong, Karl Drlica, Xilin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The contribution of reactive oxygen species (ROS) to antimicrobial lethality was examined by treating Escherichia coli with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), an antioxidant solvent frequently used in antimicrobial studies. DMSO inhibited killing by ampicillin, kanamycin, and two quinolones and had little effect on MICs. DMSO-mediated protection correlated with decreased ROS accumulation and provided evidence for ROS-mediated programmed cell death. These data support the contribution of ROS to antimicrobial lethality and suggest caution when using DMSO-dissolved antimicrobials for short-time killing assays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5054-5058
Number of pages5
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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