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1.  Formulation and in Vitro, ex Vivo and in Vivo Evaluation of Elastic Liposomes for Transdermal Delivery of Ketorolac Tromethamine 
Pharmaceutics  2011;3(4):954-970.
The objective of the current study was to formulate ketorolac tromethamine-loaded elastic liposomes and evaluate their in vitro drug release and their ex vivo and in vivo transdermal delivery. Ketorolac tromethamine (KT), which is a potent analgesic, was formulated in elastic liposomes using Tween 80 as an edge activator. The elastic vesicles were prepared by film hydration after optimizing the sonication time and number of extrusions. The vesicles exhibited an entrapment efficiency of 73 ± 11%, vesicle size of 127.8 ± 3.4 nm and a zeta potential of −12 mV. In vitro drug release was analyzed from liposomes and an aqueous solution, using Franz diffusion cells and a cellophane dialysis membrane with molecular weight cut-off of 8000 Da. Ex vivo permeation of KT across pig ear skin was studied using a Franz diffusion cell, with phosphate buffer (pH 7.4) at 32 °C as receptor solution. An in vivo drug permeation study was conducted on healthy human volunteers using a tape-stripping technique. The in vitro results showed (i) a delayed release when KT was included in elastic liposomes, compared to an aqueous solution of the drug; (ii) a flux of 0.278 μg/cm2h and a lag time of about 10 h for ex vivo permeation studies, which may indicate that KT remains in the skin (with the possibility of exerting a local effect) before reaching the receptor medium; (iii) a good correlation between the total amount permeated, the penetration distance (both determined by tape stripping) and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) measured during the in vivo permeation studies. Elastic liposomes have the potential to transport the drug through the skin, keep their size and drug charge, and release the drug into deep skin layers. Therefore, elastic liposomes hold promise for the effective topical delivery of KT.
PMCID: PMC3857066  PMID: 24309316
elastic liposomes; ketorolac tromethamine; skin permeation; tape stripping; TEWL
2.  Recombinant Human Acid Sphingomyelinase as an Adjuvant to Sorafenib Treatment of Experimental Liver Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e65620.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The only approved systemic treatment for unresectable HCC is the oral kinase inhibitor, sorafenib. Recombinant human acid sphingomyelinase (rhASM), which hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to ceramide, is an orphan drug under development for the treatment of Type B Niemann-Pick disease (NPD). Due to the hepatotropic nature of rhASM and its ability to generate pro-apoptotic ceramide, this study evaluated the use of rhASM as an adjuvant treatment with sorafenib in experimental models of HCC.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In vitro, rhASM/sorafenib treatment reduced the viability of Huh7 liver cancer cells more than sorafenib. In vivo, using a subcutaneous Huh7 tumor model, mouse survival was increased and proliferation in the tumors decreased to a similar extent in both sorafenib and rhASM/sorafenib treatment groups. However, combined rhASM/sorafenib treatment significantly lowered tumor volume, increased tumor necrosis, and decreased tumor blood vessel density compared to sorafenib. These results were obtained despite poor delivery of rhASM to the tumors. A second (orthotopic) model of Huh7 tumors also was established, but modest ASM activity was similarly detected in these tumors compared to healthy mouse livers. Importantly, no chronic liver toxicity or weight loss was observed from rhASM therapy in either model.
The rhASM/sorafenib combination exhibited a synergistic effect on reducing the tumor volume and blood vessel density in Huh7 xenografts, despite modest activity of rhASM in these tumors. No significant increases in survival were observed from the rhASM/sorafenib treatment. The poor delivery of rhASM to Huh7 tumors may be due, at least in part, to low expression of mannose receptors. The safety and efficacy of this approach, together with the novel findings regarding enzyme targeting, merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3665770  PMID: 23724146
3.  In vitro permeation and in vivo anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of nanoscaled emulsions containing ibuprofen for topical delivery 
As a topical delivery system, a nanoscaled emulsion is considered a good carrier of several active ingredients that convey several side effects upon oral administration, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
We investigated the in vitro permeation properties and the in vivo pharmacodynamic activities of different nanoscaled emulsions containing ibuprofen, an NSAID, as an active ingredient and newly synthesized palm olein esters (POEs) as the oil phase.
A ratio of 25:37:38 of oil phase:aqueous phase:surfactant was used, and different additives were used for the production of a range of nanoscaled emulsions. Carbopol® 940 dispersion neutralized by triethanolamine was employed as a rheology modifier. In some circumstances, menthol and limonene were employed at different concentrations as permeation promoters. All formulae were assessed in vitro using Franz diffusion cell fitted with full-thickness rat skin. This was followed by in vivo evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of the promising formulae and comparison of the effects with that of the commercially available gel.
Results and discussion:
Among all other formulae, formula G40 (Carbopol® 940-free formula) had a superior ability in transferring ibuprofen topically compared with the reference. Carbopol® 940 significantly decreased the amount of drug transferred from formula G41 through the skin as a result of swelling, gel formation, and reduction in drug thermodynamic activity. Nonetheless, the addition of 10% w/w of menthol and limonene successfully overcame this drawback since, relative to the reference, higher amount of ibuprofen was transferred through the skin. By contrast, these results were relatively comparable to that of formula G40. Pharmacodynamically, the G40, G45, and G47 formulae exhibited the highest anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects compared with other formulae.
The ingredients and the physical properties of the nanoscaled emulsions produced by using the newly synthesized POEs succeeded to deliver ibuprofen competently.
PMCID: PMC3075904  PMID: 21499428
in vivo analgesic; anti-inflammatory effects
4.  The laminin β1-competing peptide YIGSR induces a hypercontractile, hypoproliferative airway smooth muscle phenotype in an animal model of allergic asthma 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):170.
Fibroproliferative airway remodelling, including increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass and contractility, contributes to airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma. In vitro studies have shown that maturation of ASM cells to a (hyper)contractile phenotype is dependent on laminin, which can be inhibited by the laminin-competing peptide Tyr-Ile-Gly-Ser-Arg (YIGSR). The role of laminins in ASM remodelling in chronic asthma in vivo, however, has not yet been established.
Using an established guinea pig model of allergic asthma, we investigated the effects of topical treatment of the airways with YIGSR on features of airway remodelling induced by repeated allergen challenge, including ASM hyperplasia and hypercontractility, inflammation and fibrosis. Human ASM cells were used to investigate the direct effects of YIGSR on ASM proliferation in vitro.
Topical administration of YIGSR attenuated allergen-induced ASM hyperplasia and pulmonary expression of the proliferative marker proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Treatment with YIGSR also increased both the expression of sm-MHC and ASM contractility in saline- and allergen-challenged animals; this suggests that treatment with the laminin-competing peptide YIGSR mimics rather than inhibits laminin function in vivo. In addition, treatment with YIGSR increased allergen-induced fibrosis and submucosal eosinophilia. Immobilized YIGSR concentration-dependently reduced PDGF-induced proliferation of cultured ASM to a similar extent as laminin-coated culture plates. Notably, the effects of both immobilized YIGSR and laminin were antagonized by soluble YIGSR.
These results indicate that the laminin-competing peptide YIGSR promotes a contractile, hypoproliferative ASM phenotype in vivo, an effect that appears to be linked to the microenvironment in which the cells are exposed to the peptide.
PMCID: PMC3013082  PMID: 21129174
5.  Enhanced transdermal permeability of piroxicam through novel nanoemulgel formulation 
Piroxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug belongs to BCS class II drugs having poor solubility and is associated with a number of undesirable side-effects on the stomach and kidneys in addition to gastric mucosal damage.
The present work was to develop and characterize nanoemulgel formulation as transdermal delivery system for poorly water soluble drug, in order to overcome the troubles associated with its oral delivery and to circumvent the need of chemical penetration enhancers, which are responsible for causing skin irritation in transdermal drug delivery.
Materials and Methods:
Different nanoemulsion components (oil, surfactant and co-surfactant) were selected on the basis of solubility and emulsification ability. Pseudoternary phase diagrams were constructed using aqueous titration method to figure out the concentration range of components. Carbopol 934 was added as gel matrix to convert nanoemulsion into nanoemulgel. Drug loaded nanoemulsions and nanoemulgels were characterized for particle size, transmission electron microscopy, viscosity, conductivity, spreadability, rheological behavior, permeation studies using Wistar rat skin and stability studies. Transdermal permeation of piroxicam from nanoemulgels was determined by using Franz Diffusion cell.
The optimized nanoemulgel (BG6) contained 10% oleic acid as oil, 35% tween 80 and ethanol as surfactant co-surfactant mixture, 55% water, 0.5% drug and 0.5% w/w carbopol. The ex vivo permeation profile of optimized formulation was compared with nanoemulsion and marketed formulation (Feldene®). Nanoemulgel showed higher (P < 0.05) cumulative amount of drug permeated and flux and significantly less drug retained along with less lag time than marketed formulation.
The results indicate that nanoemulgel formulation can be used as a feasible alternative to conventional formulations of piroxicam with advanced permeation characteristics for transdermal application.
PMCID: PMC4083536  PMID: 25006551
Carbopol 934; nanoemulsion; permeation; piroxicam; ternary diagram
6.  Formulation, characterization, and evaluation of in vitro skin permeation and in vivo pharmacodynamics of surface-charged tripterine-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers 
Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) are attractive materials for topical drug delivery, and in a previous study, we demonstrated that NLCs loaded with tripterine enhance its deposition. However, the surface charge of nanoparticles influences percutaneous drug penetration. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the influence of the surface charge of NLCs on in vitro skin permeation and in vivo pharmacodynamics of tripterine and optimize tripterine- loaded NLCs for the treatment of skin diseases.
Different solid and liquid matrices were selected to prepare cationic, anionic, and neutral NLCs by the solvent evaporation method. The in vitro studies were evaluated by using Franz diffusion cells. The effect of surface-charged NLCs on cellular uptake was appraised across HaCaT and B16BL6 cells. The in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity of surface-charged NLCs was evaluated in B16BL6 cells and melanoma-bearing mice, respectively.
The average particle sizes of the cationic, anionic, and neutral NLCs were 90.2 ± 9.7, 87.8 ± 7.4, and 84.5 ± 10.2 nm, respectively; their encapsulation efficiencies were 64.3% ± 5.1%, 67.8% ± 4.4%, and 72.5% ± 4.9%, respectively. In vitro studies showed delayed tripterine release, and the order of skin permeation was cationic NLCs > anionic NLCs > neutral NLCs. Further, in vitro cytotoxicity studies showed that the cationic NLCs had the highest (P < 0.05) inhibition ratio in B16BL6 (melanoma) cells. Moreover, in vivo pharmacodynamic experiments in melanoma-bearing mice indicated that the cationic NLCs had significantly higher (P < 0.05) antimelanoma efficacy than the anionic and neutral NLCs.
The surface charge of NLCs has a great influence on the skin permeation and pharmacodynamics of tripterine. Cationic tripterine-loaded NLCs could enhance the percutaneous penetration and antimelanoma efficacy of tripterine and offer several advantages over tripterine alone. Therefore, they are promising carriers of tripterine for topical antimelanoma therapy.
PMCID: PMC3392146  PMID: 22787398
surface charge; nanostructured lipid carriers; tripterine; percutaneous penetration; cellular uptake; antimelanoma efficacy
7.  In vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption of seleno-L-methionine, an antioxidant agent, and other selenium species 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2011;32(9):1181-1190.
To investigate the in vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption of seleno-L-methionine (Se-L-M), an ultraviolet (UV)-protecting agent, from aqueous solutions.
Aqueous solutions of Se-L-M were prepared in pH 4, 8, and 10.8 buffers. The pH 8 buffer contained 30% glycerol, propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) 400. The in vitro skin permeation of Se-L-M via porcine skin and nude mouse skin was measured and compared using Franz diffusion cells. The in vivo skin tolerance study was performed, which examined transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin pH and erythema.
In the excised porcine skin, the flux was 0.1, 11.4 and 8.2 μg·cm−2·h−1 for the pH 4, 8, and 10.8 buffers, respectively. A linear correlation between the flux and skin deposition was determined. According to permeation across skin with different treatments (stripping, delipidation, and ethanol treatments), it was determined that the intracellular route comprised the predominant pathway for Se-L-M permeation from pH 8 buffer. Aqueous solutions of seleno-DL-methionine (Se-DL-M), selenium sulfide and selenium-containing quantum dot nanoparticles were also used as donor systems. The DL form showed a lower flux (7.0 vs 11.4 μg·cm−2·h−1) and skin uptake (23.4 vs 47.3 μg/g) as compared to the L form, indicating stereoselective permeation of this compound. There was no or only negligible permeation of selenium sulfide and quantum dots into and across the skin. With in vivo topical application for 4 and 8 h, the skin deposition of Se-L-M was about 7 μg/g, and values were comparable to each other. The topical application of Se-L-M for up to 5 d did not caused apparent skin irritation. However, slight inflammation of the dermis was noted according to the histopathological examination.
Se-L-M was readily absorbed by the skin in both the in vitro and in vivo experiments. The established profiles of Se-L-M skin absorption will be helpful in developing topical products of this compound.
PMCID: PMC4003305  PMID: 21785447
seleno-L-methionine; selenium; percutaneous absorption; topical delivery; skin
8.  Microneedle pretreatment enhances the percutaneous permeation of hydrophilic compounds with high melting points 
Two commercially available microneedle rollers with a needle length of 200 μm and 300 μm were selected to examine the influence of microneedle pretreatment on the percutaneous permeation of four non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (diclofenac, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, paracetamol) with different physicochemical drug characteristics in Franz-type diffusion cells. Samples of the receptor fluids were taken at predefined times over 6 hours and were analysed by UV–VIS high-performance liquid-chromatography. Histological examinations after methylene blue application were additionally performed to gather information about barrier disruption.
Despite no visible pores in the stratum corneum, the microneedle pretreatment resulted in a twofold (200 μm) and threefold higher (300 μm) flux through the pretreated skin samples compared to untreated skin samples for ibuprofen and ketoprofen (LogKow > 3, melting point < 100°C). The flux of the hydrophilic compounds diclofenac and paracetamol (logKow < 1, melting point > 100°C) increased their amount by four (200 μm) to eight (300 μm), respectively.
Commercially available microneedle rollers with 200–300 μm long needles enhance the drug delivery of topically applied non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and represent a valuable tool for percutaneous permeation enhancement particularly for substances with poor permeability due to a hydrophilic nature and high melting points.
PMCID: PMC3506268  PMID: 22947102
Transdermal drug delivery; Microneedles; logKow; Melting point; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug; In vitro permeation study; Physical penetration enhancement
9.  Enhanced skin permeation using polyarginine modified nanostructured lipid carriers 
The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of polyarginine chain length on topical delivery of surface modified NLCs. Design of experiments (DOE) was used to optimize number of arginines required to deliver active drug into deeper skin layers. The NLCs were prepared by hot-melt technique and the surface of NLCs was modified with six-histidine tagged cell penentrating peptides (CPPs) or YKA. In vivo confocal microscopy and raman confocal spectroscopy studies were performed using fluorescent dye encapsulated NLCs and NLC-CPPs. Spantide II (SP) and ketoprofen (KP) were used as model drugs for combined delivery. In vitro skin permeation and drug release studies were performed using Franz diffusion cells. Inflammatory response corresponding to higher skin permeation was investigated in allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) mouse model. NLCs had a particle size of 140 ± 20 nm with higher encapsulation efficiencies. The negative charge of NLC was reduced from −17.54 to −8.47 mV after surface modification with CPPs. In vivo confocal microscopy and raman confocal spectroscopy studies suggested that a peptide containing 11 arginines (R11) had significant permeation enhancing ability than other polyarginines and TAT peptides. The amount of SP and KP retained in dermis after topical application of NLC-R11 was significantly higher than solution and NLC after 24 h of skin permeation. SP was not found in receiver compartment. However, KP was found in receiver compartment and the amount of KP present in receiver compartment was increased approximately 7.9 and 2.6 times compared to the control solution and NLCs, respectively. In an ACD mouse model, SP+KP-NLC-R11 showed significant reduction (p<0.05) in ear thickness compared to SP+KP solution and SP+KP-NLC. Our results strongly suggest that the surface modification of NLC with R11 improved transport of SP and KP across the deeper skin layers and thus result in reduction of inflammation associated with ACD.
PMCID: PMC3412947  PMID: 22617521
Skin delivery; nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC); cell penetrating peptide (CPP); allergic contact dermatitis (ACD); polyarginine peptide
10.  Oil components modulate the skin delivery of 5-aminolevulinic acid and its ester prodrug from oil-in-water and water-in-oil nanoemulsions 
The study evaluated the potential of nanoemulsions for the topical delivery of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and methyl ALA (mALA). The drugs were incorporated in oil-in-water (O/W) and water-in-oil (W/O) formulations obtained by using soybean oil or squalene as the oil phase. The droplet size, zeta potential, and environmental polarity of the nanocarriers were assessed as physicochemical properties. The O/W and W/O emulsions showed diameters of 216–256 and 18–125 nm, which, respectively, were within the range of submicron- and nano-sized dispersions. In vitro diffusion experiments using Franz-type cells and porcine skin were performed. Nude mice were used, and skin fluorescence derived from protoporphyrin IX was documented by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The loading of ALA or mALA into the emulsions resulted in slower release across cellulose membranes. The release rate and skin flux of topical drug application were adjusted by changing the type of nanocarrier, the soybean oil O/W systems showing the highest skin permeation. This formulation increased ALA flux via porcine skin to 180 nmol/cm2/h, which was 2.6-fold that of the aqueous control. The CLSM results showed that soybean oil systems promoted mALA permeation to deeper layers of the skin from ∼100 μm to ∼140 μm, which would be beneficial for treating subepidermal and subcutaneous lesions. Drug permeation from W/O systems did not surpass that from the aqueous solution. An in vivo dermal irritation test indicated that the emulsions were safe for topical administration of ALA and mALA.
PMCID: PMC3084316  PMID: 21556344
nanoemulsions; 5-aminolevulinic acid; methyl 5-aminolevulinic acid; skin permeation; soybean oil; squalene
11.  Enhanced Controlled Transdermal Delivery of Ambroxol from the EVA Matrix 
To avoid the systemic adverse effects that might occur after oral administration, transdermal delivery of ambroxol was studied as a method for maintaining proper blood levels for an extended period. Release of ambroxol according to concentration and temperature was determined, and permeation of drug through rat skin was studied using two chamber-diffusion cells. The solubility according to PEG 400 volume fraction was highest at 40% PEG 400. The rate of drug release from the EVA matrix increased with increased temperature and drug loading doses. A linear relationship existed between the release rate and the square root of loading rate. The activation energy (Ea) was measured from the slope of the plot of log P versus 1000/T and was found to be 10.71, 10.39, 10.33 and 9.87 kcal/mol for 2, 3, 4 and 5% loading dose from the EVA matrix, respectively. To increase the permeation rate of ambroxol across rat skin from the EVA matrix, various penetration enhancers such as fatty acids (saturated, unsaturated), propylene glycols, glycerides, pyrrolidones, and non-ionic surfactants were used. The enhancing effects of the incorporated enhancers on the skin permeation of ambroxol were evaluated using Franz diffusion cells fitted with intact excised rat skin at 37° using 40% PEG 400 solution as a receptor medium. Among the enhancers used, polyoxyethylene-2-oleyl ether increased the permeation rate by 4.25-fold. In conclusion, EVA matrix containing plasticizer and permeation enhancer could be developed for enhanced transdermal delivery of ambroxol.
PMCID: PMC3546329  PMID: 23325993
Ambroxol; EVA matrix; plasticizer; penetration enhancer; transdermal delivery
Drug flux across microneedle (MN)-treated skin is influenced by the characteristics of the MN array, microconduits and drug molecules in addition to the overall diffusional resistance of microconduits and viable tissue. Relative implication of these factors has not been fully explored. In the present study, the in vitro permeation of a series of six structurally related ionic xanthene dyes with different molecular weights (MW) and chemical substituents, across polymer MN-pretreated full thickness porcine skin was investigated in relation of their molecular characteristics. Phosphate buffer saline pH 7.4, the medium used in skin permeation experiments, was used to determine the equilibrium solubility of the dyes and their partition coefficient both in the isotropic n-octanol/ aqueous system and porcine skin/ aqueous system. Additionally, dissociation constants were determined potentiometrically. Results indicated that for rhodamine dyes, skin permeation of the zwitterionic form which predominates at physiological pH, was significantly reduced by an increase in MW, the presence of the chemically reactive isothiocyanate substituent reported to interact with stratum corneum proteins and the skin thickness. These factors were generally shown to override aqueous solubility, an important determinant of drug diffusion in an aqueous milieu. Findings provided more insight into the mechanism of drug permeation across MN-treated skin, of importance to both the design of MN-based transdermal drug delivery systems and in vitro skin permeation research.
PMCID: PMC4119965  PMID: 22960319
microneedles; molecular weight; solubility; porcine skin; isothiocyanate; partition coefficient
13.  Effect of Different Carriers on in vitro Permeation of Meloxicam through Rat Skin 
The ability of β-cyclodextrin, hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin, polyvinyl pyrrolidone and urea to influence the percutaneous absorption of meloxicam through isolated rat skin was evaluated. Carrier complex were prepared by kneading method in 1:1 and 1:2 in molar ratios for β-cyclodextrin and hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin and in 1:1, 1:3 and 1:5 in weight ratios for polyvinyl pyrrolidone and urea. The complexes were characterized by IR, DSC and evaluated for solubility, dissolution and skin permeability. The solubility, dissolution and permeability of meloxicam were enhanced by using the carriers. The influence of cyclodextrins, polyvinyl pyrrolidone and urea on in vitro permeation of meloxicam through rat skin was investigated by incorporation of prepared carrier complex in 1% carbopol gel. The prepared gel was evaluated for drug content, pH and viscosity and in vitro permeation. All the percutaneous parameters like flux (Jss), amount permeated (Q6), diffusivity (D), permeability coefficient (Kp), partition coefficient (K) and release rate constant (k) were calculated statistically. In vitro permeation study showed the trend that the penetration flux and enhancement factor increases with increasing concentration of β-cyclodextrin and hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin and then decrease dramatically in case of hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin gel formulation with the increase to 1:2 ratio. Similar changes in pattern of permeation were also observed with polyvinyl pyrrolidone and urea carrier complex. These findings concluded that the carriers cyclodextrins, polyvinyl pyrrolidone and urea could be used as transdermal permeation enhancer in topical preparation of meloxicam.
PMCID: PMC3178971  PMID: 21969742
β-cyclodextrin; hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin; in vitro release; meloxicam; polyvinyl pyrrolidone; permeation; urea
14.  Contribution of Acid Sphingomyelinase in the Periaqueductal Gray Region to Morphine-induced Analgesia in Mice 
Neuroreport  2012;23(13):780-785.
Opioids are the most widely used drugs for long-term pain management, but their use is limited by the development of antinociceptive tolerance. The present study investigated the role of ceramide production via acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) activation in the periaqueductal gray region, a brain region implicated in opioid analgesia and tolerance. Morphine treatment was found using immunohistochemistry to increase ASM expression and intracellular ceramide in the periaqueductal gray 30 min after acute injection (10 mg/kg). The effects of acute morphine treatment on ASM expression and ceramide generation in the periaqueductal gray region were completely blocked by pretreatment with naloxone and by silencing the ASM gene by plasmid-mediated transfection of ASM shRNA. In chronic morphine pellet-implanted mice, ASM expression and ceramide generation in the periaqueductal gray region were also significantly increased. Functionally, selective silencing of the ASM gene by local ASM shRNA transfection reduced the analgesic response to acute morphine, but the data regarding the ASM shRNA effect on development of antinociceptive tolerance were inconclusive. These data provide evidence that ASM activation and ceramide generation in the periaqueductal gray region is importantly involved in the antinociceptive mechanism of morphine.
PMCID: PMC3732375  PMID: 22825003
Acid sphingomyelinase; ceramide; periaqueductal gray region; morphine tolerance; mu opioid receptor
15.  Skin permeating nanogel for the cutaneous co-delivery of two anti-inflammatory drugs 
Biomaterials  2011;33(5):1607-1617.
The aim of this study was to develop an effective drug delivery system for the simultaneous topical delivery of two anti-inflammatory drugs, spantide II (SP) and ketoprofen (KP). To achieve this primary goal we have developed a skin permeating nanogel system (SPN) containing surface modified polymeric bilayered nanoparticles along with a gelling agent. Poly-(lactide-co-glycolic acid) and chitosan were used to prepare bilayered nanoparticles (NPS) and the surface was modified with oleic acid (NPSO). Hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) and Carbopol with the desired viscosity were utilized to prepare the nanogels. The nanogel system was further investigated for in vitro skin permeation, drug release and stability studies. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) and psoriatic plaque like model were used to assess the effectiveness of SPN. Dispersion of NPSO in HPMC (SPN) produced a stable and uniform dispersion. In vitro permeation studies revealed increase in deposition of SP for the SP-SPN or SP+KP-SPN in the epidermis and dermis by 8.5 and 9.5 folds, respectively than SP-gel. Further, the deposition of KP for KP-SPN or SP+KP-SPN in epidermis and dermis was 9.75 and 11.55 folds higher, respectively than KP-gel. Similarly the amount of KP permeated for KP-SPN or SP+KP-SPN was increased by 9.92 folds than KP-gel. The ear thickness in ACD model and the expression of IL-17 and IL-23; PASI score and TEWL values in psoriatic plaque like model were significantly less (p<0.001) for SPN compared to control gel. Our results suggest that SP+KP-SPN have significant potential for the percutaneous delivery of SP and KP to the deeper skin layers for treatment of various skin inflammatory disorders.
PMCID: PMC3242008  PMID: 22118820
16.  Acid Sphingomyelinase Gene Knockout Ameliorates Hyperhomocysteinemic Glomerular Injury in Mice Lacking Cystathionine-β-Synthase 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45020.
Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) has been implicated in the development of hyperhomocysteinemia (hHcys)-induced glomerular oxidative stress and injury. However, it remains unknown whether genetically engineering of ASM gene produces beneficial or detrimental action on hHcys-induced glomerular injury. The present study generated and characterized the mice lacking cystathionine β-synthase (Cbs) and Asm mouse gene by cross breeding Cbs+/− and Asm+/− mice. Given that the homozygotes of Cbs−/−/Asm−/− mice could not survive for 3 weeks. Cbs+/−/Asm+/+, Cbs+/−/Asm+/− and Cbs+/−/Asm−/− as well as their Cbs wild type littermates were used to study the role of Asm−/− under a background of Cbs+/− with hHcys. HPLC analysis revealed that plasma Hcys level was significantly elevated in Cbs heterozygous (Cbs+/−) mice with different copies of Asm gene compared to Cbs+/+ mice with different Asm gene copies. Cbs+/−/Asm+/+ mice had significantly increased renal Asm activity, ceramide production and O2.− level compared to Cbs+/+/Asm+/+, while Cbs+/−/Asm−/− mice showed significantly reduced renal Asm activity, ceramide production and O2.− level due to increased plasma Hcys levels. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that colocalization of podocin with ceramide was much lower in Cbs+/−/Asm−/− mice compared to Cbs+/−/Asm+/+ mice, which was accompanied by a reduced glomerular damage index, albuminuria and proteinuria in Cbs+/−/Asm−/− mice. Immunofluorescent analyses of the podocin, nephrin and desmin expression also illustrated less podocyte damages in the glomeruli from Cbs+/−/Asm−/− mice compared to Cbs+/−/Asm+/+ mice. In in vitro studies of podocytes, hHcys-enhanced O2.− production, desmin expression, and ceramide production as well as decreases in VEGF level and podocin expression in podocytes were substantially attenuated by prior treatment with amitriptyline, an Asm inhibitor. In conclusion, Asm gene knockout or corresponding enzyme inhibition protects the podocytes and glomeruli from hHcys-induced oxidative stress and injury.
PMCID: PMC3443210  PMID: 23024785
17.  The effect of formulation vehicles on the in vitro percutaneous permeation of ibuprofen 
BMC Pharmacology  2011;11:12.
The transdermal application of substances represents an elegant approach to overcome side effects related to injections or oral treatment. Due to benefits like a constant plasma level, no pain during application and a simple therapeutic regime, the optimization of formulations for transdermal drug delivery has gained interest in the last decades. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compound which is nowadays often used transdermally. The objective of this work was to conduct a study on the effect of different 5% ibuprofen containing formulations (Ibutop® cream, Ibutop® gel, and ibuprofen solution in phosphate buffered saline) on the in vitro-percutaneous permeation of ibuprofen through skin to emphasise the importance of the formulation on percutaneous permeation and skin reservoir.
The permeation experiments were conducted in Franz-type diffusion cells according to OECD guideline 428 with 2 mg/cm2 ibuprofen formulation on each skin sample. Ibuprofen was analysed in the receptor fluid and extracted skin samples by UV-VIS high-performance liquid-chromatography at 238 nm. The plot of the cumulative amount of ibuprofen permeated versus time was employed to calculate the apparent permeability coefficient, the maximum flux and the lagtime, all of which were statistically analysed by One-way ANOVA.
Although ibuprofen permeation out of the gel increases rapidly within the first four hours, the cream produced the highest ibuprofen delivery through the skin within 28 hours, followed by the solution and the gel. A significant shorter lagtime was found after gel treatment compared with the cream and the solution. After 28 hours 59% of the applied ibuprofen was found in the receptor fluid of the cream treated samples, 26% in the solution treated samples and 21% in the samples treated with the gel. Fourfold higher ibuprofen reservoirs were found in the solution and gel treated skin samples compared to the cream treated skin samples.
The present study demonstrates the importance of the formulation on transdermal drug delivery of ibuprofen and emphasises the differences of drug storage within the skin due to the formulation. Thus, it is a mistaken assumption that formulations comprising the same drug amount are equivalent regarding skin permeability.
PMCID: PMC3259031  PMID: 22168832
18.  Stratum corneum lipids liposomes for the topical delivery of 5-aminolevulinic acid in photodynamic therapy of skin cancer: preparation and in vitro permeation study 
BMC Dermatology  2001;1:5.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) is a skin cancer therapy that still has limitations due to the low penetration of this drug into the skin. We have proposed in this work a delivery system for 5-ALA based on liposomes having lipid composition similar to the mammalian stratum corneum (SCLLs) in order to optimize its skin delivery in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) of skin cancers.
SCLLs were obtained by reverse phase evaporation technique and size distribution of the vesicles was determinated by photon correlation spectroscopy. In vitro permeation profile was characterized using hairless mouse skin mounted in modified Franz diffusion cell.
Size exclusion chromatography on gel filtration confirmed vesicle formation. SCLLs obtained by presented a degree of encapsulation of 5-ALA around 5.7%. A distribution of vesicle size centering at around 500 nm and 400 nm respectively for SCLLs and SCLLs containing 5-ALA was found. In vitro 5-ALA permeation study showed that SCLLs preparations presented higher skin retention significantly (p < 0.05) on the epidermis without SC + dermis, with a decreasing of skin permeation compared to aqueous solution.
The in vitro delivery performance provided by SCLLs lead to consider this systems adequate for the 5-ALA-PDT of skin cancer, since SCLLs have delivered 5-ALA to the target skin layers (viable epidermis + dermis) to be treated by topical PDT of skin cancer.
PMCID: PMC55336  PMID: 11545679
19.  The development of Cutina lipogels and gel microemulsion for topical administration of fluconazole 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2002;3(4):77-85.
The influence of the vehicle on the release and permeation of fluconazole, a topical antifungal drug dissolved in Jojoba oil was evaluated. Series of Cutina lipogels (Cutina CPA [cetyl palmitate], CBS [mixture of glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl palmitate, and cocoglycerides], MD [glyceryl stearate], and GMS [glyceryl monostearate]) in different concentrations as well as gel microemulsion were prepared. In-vitro drug release in Sorensens citrate buffer (pH 5.5) and permeation through the excised skin of hairless mice, using a modified Franz diffusion cell, were performed. The rheological behavior and the apparent viscosity values for different gel bases were measured before and after storage under freezing conditions at −4 °C and were taken as measures for stability of network structure.Candida albicans was used as a model fungus to evaluate the antifungal activity of the best formula achieved. The results of in vitro drug release and its percutaneous absorption showed that the highest values from gel microemulsion were assured. The rheological behavior of the prepared systems showed pseudoplastic (shear-thinning) flow indicating structural breakdown of the existing intermolecular interactions between polymeric chains. Moreover, the stability study revealed no significant difference between viscosity before and after storage for different formulae except for CPA Cutina lipogel (using analysis of variance [ANOVA] test at level of significance .05). The antifungal activity of fluconazole showed the widest zone of inhibition with gel microemulsion. The gel microemulsion is an excellent vehicle for fluconazole topical drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC2751344  PMID: 12916929
microemulsion; lipogel; percutaneous absorption
20.  Fabrication, appraisal, and transdermal permeation of sildenafil citrate-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers versus solid lipid nanoparticles 
Although sildenafil citrate (SC) is used extensively for erectile dysfunction, oral delivery of SC encounters many obstacles. Furthermore, the physicochemical characteristics of this amphoteric drug are challenging for delivery system formulation and transdermal permeation. This article concerns the assessment of the potential of nanomedicine for improving SC delivery and transdermal permeation. SC-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) and solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) were fabricated using a modified high-shear homogenization technique. Nanoparticle optimization steps included particle size analysis, entrapment efficiency (EE) determination, freeze-drying and reconstitution, differential scanning calorimetry, in vitro release, stability study and high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. Transdermal permeation of the nanocarriers compared with SC suspension across human skin was assessed using a modified Franz diffusion cell assembly. Results revealed that SLNs and NLCs could be optimized in the nanometric range (180 and 100 nm, respectively) with excellent EE (96.7% and 97.5%, respectively). Nanoparticles have significantly enhanced in vitro release and transdermal permeation of SC compared with its suspensions. Furthermore, transdermal permeation of SC exhibited higher initial release from both SLN and NLC formulations followed by controlled release, with promising implications for faster onset and longer drug duration. Nanomedicines prepared exhibited excellent physical stability for the study period. Solid nanoparticles optimized in this study successfully improved SC characteristics, paving the way for an efficient topical Viagra® product.
PMCID: PMC3254264  PMID: 22238508
nanomedicine; transdermal drug delivery; erectile dysfunction; Viagra®
21.  Essential oil from Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. and its main components used as transdermal penetration enhancers: a comparative study*  
Our previous studies had confirmed that the essential oil from Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. (Z. bungeanum oil) could effectively enhance the percutaneous permeation of drug molecules as a natural transdermal penetration enhancer. The aim of the present study is to investigate and compare the skin penetration enhancement effect of Z. bungeanum oil and its main components on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) active components. Toxicities of Z. bungeanum oil and three selected terpene compounds (terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-cineole, and limonene) in epidermal keratinocytes (HaCaT) and dermal fibroblast (CCC-ESF-1) cell lines were measured using an MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. Five model drugs in TCM external preparations, namely osthole (OT), tetramethylpyrazine (TMP), ferulic acid (FA), puerarin (PR), and geniposide (GP), which were selected based on their lipophilicity denoted by logK o/w, were tested using in vitro permeation studies in which vertical Franz diffusion cells and rat abdominal skin were employed. The secondary structure changes of skin stratum corneum (SC) and drug thermodynamic activities were investigated to understand their mechanisms of action using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and saturation solubility studies, respectively. It was found that Z. bungeanum oil showed lower toxicities in both HaCaT cells and CCC-ESF-1 cells compared with three terpene compounds used alone. The enhancement permeation capacities by all tested agents were in the following increasing order: terpinen-4-ol≈1,8-cineole
PMCID: PMC4228507  PMID: 25367787
Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim.; Essential oil; Limonene; Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy; Penetration enhancer; HaCaT
AAPS PharmSciTech  2013;14(2):682-691.
Onychomycosis is associated with the cutaneous fungal infection of the nail and the nail folds (skin surrounding the nail). It is therefore important to target drug delivery into the nail folds along with nail plate and the nail bed. Systematic and strategic selection of the penetration enhancers specific for the skin and the nail is discussed. Twelve penetration enhancers were screened for their ability to improve solubility, in vitro nail penetration, in vitro skin permeation, and in vitro skin penetration of the antifungal drug ciclopirox olamine. In contrast to transdermal drug delivery, the main selection criteria for skin penetration enhancer in topical drug delivery were increased drug accumulation in the epidermis and minimal permeation across the skin. Thiourea improved the solubility and nail penetration of ciclopirox olamine. It also showed enhancement in the transungual diffusion of the drug. Propylene glycol showed a 12-fold increase in solubility and 3-fold increase in epidermal accumulation of ciclopirox olamine, while minimizing the transdermal movement of the drug. Thiourea was the selected nail permeation enhancer and propylene glycol was the selected skin penetration enhancer of ciclopirox olamine. A combination of the selected enhancers was also explored for its effect on drug delivery to the nail and nail folds. The enhancer combination reduced the penetration of ciclopirox in the skin and also the permeation through the nail. The proposed preformulation strategy helps to select appropriate enhancers for optimum topical delivery and paves way towards an efficient topical formulation for passive transungual drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3666006  PMID: 23572254
ciclopirox olamine; onychomychosis; penetration enhancers; preformulation; topical
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:321.
Rubbing a topical NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) on the skin may increase local drug permeation, affecting its distribution to the site of pain and inflammation. The present study evaluates this hypothesis, by assessing in vitro the effect on skin permeation of applying diclofenac-dieythylamine 1.16% gel with or without rubbing.
A single dose of 5 mg/cm2 diclofenac-diethylamine 1.16% gel was applied on excised human skin mounted in Franz-type diffusion cells without or with rubbing for 45 s. Drug penetration into the skin layers was determined after 1 h using the tape stripping technique. In vitro cutaneous permeation into the receptor fluid of the diffusion chamber was measured up to 24 h. Skin electrical resistance was also recorded.
Application of diclofenac-diethylamine 1.16% gel with rubbing resulted to a 5-fold higher flux of diclofenac through the skin than when applied without rubbing at 8 h (P = 0.04). Skin rubbing for 45 s decreased by 2-fold skin electrical resistance when compared to the standard application. Application of diclofenac-diethylamine 1.16% gel with rubbing tended to result in higher accumulation in the stripped skin vs. the superficial skin layers when applied without rubbing (P = 0.2).
These results suggest that rubbing may alter the superficial skin layer resulting in a transient faster initial diffusion of topically applied diclofenac through the stratum corneum into the deeper skin layer of the dermis to the tissue target.
PMCID: PMC3424122  PMID: 22720797
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;104(5):657-667.
T-helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the pulmonary inflammatory response and altered bronchial responsiveness in allergic asthma. To elucidate the mechanism of Th2-dependent mediation of altered airway responsiveness in the atopic asthmatic state, the expression and actions of specific cytokines were examined in isolated rabbit and human airway smooth muscle (ASM) tissues and cultured cells passively sensitized with sera from atopic asthmatic patients or nonatopic/nonasthmatic (control) subjects. Relative to control tissues, the atopic asthmatic sensitized ASM exhibited significantly enhanced maximal isometric contractility to acetylcholine and attenuated relaxation responses to isoproterenol. These proasthmatic changes in agonist responsiveness were ablated by pretreating the atopic sensitized tissues with either an IL-5 receptor blocking antibody (IL-5ra) or the human recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), whereas an IL-4 neutralizing antibody had no effect. Moreover, relative to controls, atopic asthmatic sensitized ASM cells demonstrated an initial, early (after 3 hours of incubation) increased mRNA expression and protein release of IL-5. This was followed (after 6 hours of incubation) by an enhanced mRNA expression and release of IL-1β protein, an effect that was inhibited in sensitized cells pretreated with IL-5ra. Extended studies demonstrated that naive ASM exposed to exogenously administered IL-5 exhibited an induced upregulated mRNA expression and protein release of IL-1β associated with proasthmatic-like changes in ASM constrictor and relaxant responsiveness, and that these effects were ablated in tissues pretreated with IL-1ra. Taken together, these observations provide new evidence that (a) the Th2 cytokine IL-5 and the pleiotropic proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β are endogenously released by atopic asthmatic sensitized ASM and mechanistically interact to mediate the proasthmatic perturbations in ASM responsiveness; and (b) the nature of this interaction is given by an initial endogenous release of IL-5, which then acts to induce the autologous release of IL-1β by the sensitized ASM itself, resulting in its autocrine manifestation of the proasthmatic phenotype.
PMCID: PMC408541  PMID: 10487780
A buccoadhesive drug delivery system of Insulin was prepared by solvent casting technique and characterized in vitro by surface pH, bioadhesive strength, drug release and skin permeation studies. Sodium carboxymethylcellulose-DVP was chosen as the controlled release matrix polymer. The optimized formulation J4 contained Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose-DVP 2% (w/v), insulin (50 IU/film), propylene glycol (0.25 ml) and Isopropyl alcohol: water (1:4) as solvent system. Bioadhesive strength of the prepared patches was measured on a modified physical balance using bovine cheek pouch as the model membrane. In vitro release studies were carried out at 37 ± 2° using phosphate buffer pH 6.6, in a modified dissolution apparatus fabricated for the purpose. Cumulative amount of drug released from the optimized formulation J4 was 91.64% in 6 hours. In vitro permeation studies were carried out on J4 at 37 ± 2° using Franz diffusion cell. Cumulative amount of drug permeated from J4 was 6.63% in 6 hours. In order to enhance the permeation of protein drug, different permeation enhancers were evaluated. The results suggested that sodium deoxycholate 5% (w/v) was the best permeation enhancer among those evaluated. It enhanced the permeation of insulin from 6.63% to 10.38% over a period of 6 hours. The optimized patches were also satisfactory in terms of surface pH and bioadhesive strength. It can also be easily concluded that the system is a success as compared to the conventional formulations with respect to invasiveness, requirement of trained persons for administration and most importantly, the first pass metabolism.
PMCID: PMC2852063  PMID: 20390082
Transmucosal; buccoadhesive; protein delivery; insulin delivery

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