Temporal pressure enhanced topical drug delivery through micropore formation

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Science Advances  29 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 22, eaaz6919
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz6919


Transdermal drug delivery uses chemical, physical, or biochemical enhancers to cross the skin barrier. However, existing platforms require high doses of chemical enhancers or sophisticated equipment, use fragile biomolecules, or are limited to a certain type of drug. Here, we report an innovative methodology based on temporal pressure to enhance the penetration of all kinds of drugs, from small molecules to proteins and nanoparticles (up to 500 nm). The creation of micropores (~3 μm2) on the epidermal layer through a temporal pressure treatment results in the elevated expression of gap junctions, and reduced expression of occludin tight junctions. A 1 min treatment of 0.28-MPa allows nanoparticles (up to 500 nm) and macromolecules (up to 20 kDa) to reach a depth of 430-μm into the dermal layer. Using, as an example, the delivery of insulin through topical application after the pressure treatment yields up to 80% drop in blood glucose in diabetic mice.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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