The determination of stratum corneum thickness - An alternative approach

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, University of Bath, Bath, UK.
European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (Impact Factor: 3.38). 03/2008; 69(3):861-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2008.02.002
Source: PubMed


The individual thickness of the stratum corneum is required to normalise drug permeation profiles in dermato-pharmacokinetic studies. The thickness is often estimated using tape-stripping combined with transepidermal water loss measurements. A linear transformation of Fick's first law is used to relate the progressively thinner barrier with the corresponding increase in transepidermal water loss and to estimate the thickness by linear regression. However, the data from an important subset of subjects are poorly fitted to this linear model. This is typically due to the removal of loose outer layers of stratum corneum, which do not contribute significantly to barrier function. This work proposes two alternative non-linear models. All three models were used to fit data from 31 in vivo tape-stripping experiments and their outcomes and goodness-of-fit compared. The results suggest that the linear model may overestimate the stratum corneum thickness and is open to subjectivity regarding the selection of data points to be fitted. The non-linear models satisfactorily fitted all the data, including all data points. No significant differences were found between the thicknesses derived from the two non-linear models. However, the analysis of the goodness-of-fit of the models to the data suggests a preference for a baseline-corrected approach.

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