Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society

Effect of L-menthol and 1,8-cineole on phase behavior and molecular organization of SC lipids and skin permeation of zidovudine.

PMID 15653134


The aim of this investigation was to study the effect of 1,8-cineole and L-menthol on phase behavior and molecular organization of Stratum corneum (SC) lipids and permeation of zidovudine (AZT) across human cadaver skin (HCS). Permeation studies were conducted across HCS using Franz diffusion cells at 37 degrees C. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) were employed to understand the effect of terpenes on phase behavior and molecular organization of a model SC lipid system consisting of an equimolar mixture of ceramide, palmitic acid and cholesterol. Both 1,8-cineole and L-menthol applied at 5% w/v in 66.6% ethanol as a vehicle significantly enhanced the pseudosteady state flux of AZT across HCS. The vehicle reduced the number of endothermic transitions observed in the DSC thermogram of a hydrated model SC lipid system from three to two with a lowered midtransition temperature (Tm), while the inclusion of terpenes resulted in a single but very broad endothermic transition for the model SC lipid system. Correspondingly, ATR-FTIR studies revealed that both 1,8-cineole and L-menthol increased CH2 stretching frequencies on either side of lipid transition in addition to lowering the Tm of model SC lipid system by approximately 2-8 degrees C. The alterations observed in the amide-I frequencies of model SC lipid system after the inclusion of terpenes suggest that they disrupt the interlamellar hydrogen-bonding network at the polar head group region. Further, terpenes also increased the hydration levels of the lipid system probably by forming new aqueous channels. These results indicate that terpenes enhance transdermal permeation of AZT and other drugs by transforming SC lipids from a highly ordered orthorhombic perpendicular subcellular packing to a less ordered hexagonal subcell packing.