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AAPS PharmSciTech. 2003 September; 4(3): 1–9.
Published online 2003 May 14. doi:  10.1208/pt040329
PMCID: PMC2750622

Passive and iontophoretic transport enhancement of insulin through porcine epidermis by depilatories: Permeability and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy studies


The effect of thioglycolate-based depilatory lotions was studied on the in vitro passive and iontophoretic permeability of insulin through porcine epidermis and biophysical changes in the stratum corneum (SC) lipids and proteins. The porcine epidermis and Franz diffusion cells modified for iontophoresis were used for the in vitro transport studies. Cathodal iontophoresis was performed at 0.2 mA/cm2 current density. Resistance of the control- and depilatory-lotion-treated epidermis was determined according to Ohmslaw. Biophysical changes were studied on porcine SC before (control) and after treatment with the depilatory lotions using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Asymmetric (~2915 cm−1) and symmetric (~2848 cm−1) Carbon-Hydrogen (C-H) stretching absorbances were studied to estimate the extent of lipid extraction. Fourier self-deconvolution and second derivative procedures were applied to amide I band (1700–1600 cm−1) in order to estimate quantitatively the changes in the secondary structure of the SC protein. The passive permeability of insulin was significantly (P<.05) increased through depilatory-lotion-treated (ie, Better Off, Marzena, and Sally Hansen) epidermis in comparison to control. Iontophoresis significantly enhanced (P<.05) the permeability of insulin through depilatory-pretreated epidermis in comparison with the control epidermis. Further, we were able to achieve the desired flux of insulin (5.25 U/cm2/d) through Better Off-treated epidermis using 0.2 mA/cm2 current density and 100 U/mL donor concentration of insulin. The SC treated with depilatory lotions showed a decrease in peak areas of C-H stretching absorbances in comparison with untreated SC. Depilatory lotion treatment also decreased (P<.05) the epidermal resistance in comparison with the control epidermis. The decrease in the α-helix conformation and the increase in the random and turn structures were observed in the SC proteins due to depilatory lotion treatment. The changes in the secondary structure of proteins and lipid extraction from the SC are suggested as the cause of the decrease in the epidermal resistance and the increase in the passive and iontophoretic permeability of insulin through depilatory-pretreated epidermis in comparison with the control epidermis.

Keywords: transdermal, insulin, depilatory lotion, iontophoresis, epidermal resistance

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Selected References

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