USES OF DEUTERIUM OXIDE
The oldest application of deuterium oxide is the measurement of total body water and of different body fluids, using isotopic dilution analysis. Deuterium oxide is also used as a solvent in nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance analysis, and study of complex compounds or mixtures.
In addition, deuterium oxide may be used as carcinolytic agent since deuteration affects the kinetic of cellular reactions. Therefore, rapidly proliferating entities (i.e. tumors) should be particularly susceptible to the inhibitory action of deuterium oxide on cell division, resulting in inhibition of tumor growth.
Fischer noted that mouse carcinoma cells in tissue cultures were unable to grow when the deuterium oxide content of the medium was 50-70% (3). Also, Finkel observed that, when the deuterium oxide levels in mice body fluid ranged from 13 to 32%, the growth of Krebs-2A ascites tumors were depressed.
The use of deuterium oxide as carcinolytic agent requires further investigation.
Protection of mice from whole-body gamma radiation by deuteration of drinking water.
Drinking water made available to mice was changed from ordinary tap water to tap water containing 30 atom% D2O when the animals were 6 to 8 weeks old.
Twelve days later, the deuterated mice and an approximately equal number of nondeuterated control mice were subjected to whole-body gamma radiation from a 60Co source.
All mice received ordinary tap water after the irradiation.
Postirradiation mortality was significantly less in deuterated than in nondeuterated animals.
These results may have practical implications for radiotherapy of human malignant tumors.