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Liposomes increase skin penetration of entrapped and non-entrapped hydrophilic substances into human skin: A skin penetration and confocal laser scanning microscopy study


Liposomes increase skin penetration of entrapped and non-entrapped hydrophilic substances into human skin: A skin penetration and confocal laser scanning microscopy study



European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics: Official Journal of Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Pharmazeutische Verfahrenstechnik E.V 55(3): 271-277



ISSN/ISBN: 0939-6411

PMID: 12754000

DOI: 10.1016/s0939-6411(03)00021-3

Liposomes have been extensively studied and suggested as a vehicle for topical drug delivery systems. However, the mechanism by which liposomes deliver drugs into intact skin is not fully understood. In the present study, we have tried to understand the mechanism of transport of hydrophilic drugs into the skin using liposomes. The effect of separation of the non-entrapped, hydrophilic fluorescent compound, carboxyfluorescein (CF), from liposomally entrapped CF was investigated by measuring the penetration of CF across human skin under non-occlusive conditions in vitro using Franz diffusion cells. The fluorescent dye, CF, was incorporated into the liposomes and applied onto the skin. After a 6 and 12 h incubation period, the amount of CF in the epidermal membrane and the full thickness skin was determined by fluorescence spectroscopy or by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The liposomal formulation containing CF both inside and outside the vesicles showed statistically enhanced penetration of CF into the human stratum corneum (SC) as compared to the formulations containing CF only outside of the liposomes and CF in Tris buffer. The CLSM results revealed that the formulation in which CF was present outside the liposomes showed bright fluorescence intensity in the SC and very weak fluorescence in the viable epidermis. However, the CF in Tris buffer failed to show any fluorescence in the viable epidermis. The results indicated that phospholipid vesicles not only carry the entrapped hydrophilic substance, but also the non-entrapped hydrophilic substance into the SC and possibly into the deeper layers of the skin.

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