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PloS one

Superresolution and Fluorescence Dynamics Evidence Reveal That Intact Liposomes Do Not Cross the Human Skin Barrier.


PMID 26751684

Abstract

In this study we use the combination of super resolution optical microscopy and raster image correlation spectroscopy (RICS) to study the mechanism of action of liposomes as transdermal drug delivery systems in human skin. Two different compositions of liposomes were applied to newly excised human skin, a POPC liposome and a more flexible liposome containing the surfactant sodium cholate. Stimulated emission depletion microscopy (STED) images of intact skin and cryo-sections of skin treated with labeled liposomes were recorded displaying an optical resolution low enough to resolve the 100 nm liposomes in the skin. The images revealed that virtually none of the liposomes remained intact beneath the skin surface. RICS two color cross correlation diffusion measurements of double labeled liposomes confirmed these observations. Our results suggest that the liposomes do not act as carriers that transport their cargo directly through the skin barrier, but mainly burst and fuse with the outer lipid layers of the stratum corneum. It was also found that the flexible liposomes showed a greater delivery of the fluorophore into the stratum corneum, indicating that they functioned as chemical permeability enhancers.

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