Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is a common solvent for pharmacological agents. It is a small, lipophilic molecule thought to be relatively highly permeable through the cell membrane. While measuring the effect of low concentrations of DMSO (0.05-0.5% v/v) on capillary hydraulic conductivity as a vehicle control for pharmacological agents, the authors noticed what appeared to be an unusual transient absorption of fluid across the vessel wall. This absorption occurred during occlusion of the vessel, but dissipated quickly (1.7-8.6 s). The transient reabsorption reappeared upon each successive occlusion. To determine the nature of this transient absorption, the authors have measured the effect of increasing the pressure of the perfusing solution, of the concentration and time of perfusion of DMSO, and of superfusing the DMSO. They found that the absorption rate, but not the filtration rate, was concentration dependent, and was significantly correlated with the osmotic pressure of the DMSO. Moreover, the time taken for completion of the transient, i.e., time to reversal of flow, was inversely proportional to the hydraulic conductivity of the vessel. Furthermore, the transient absorption could be reduced and eventually abolished by increasing the hydrostatic pressure. These results strongly suggested that perfusion with low concentrations of DMSO could set up a significant osmotic pressure gradient across the vessel wall. This proposed mechanism for the absorption was confirmed by the measurement of a significant osmotic reflection coefficient of the vessel wall to DMSO (0.11 ± 0.01). Relatively low concentrations (0.05-0.5%) of DMSO were therefore able to stimulate a significant osmotic transient across the blood vessel walls. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis LLC.