Enhanced transdermal delivery of low molecular weight heparin by barrier perturbation
The purpose of this work was to investigate the in vitro transdermal delivery of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). Hairless rat skin was mounted on Franz diffusion cells and treated with various enhancement strategies. Passive flux was essentially zero and remained low even after iontophoresis (0.065 U cm(-2) h(-1)) or application of ultrasound (0.058 U cm(-2) h(-1)). A significant increase in flux across tape stripped skin (4.0 U cm(-2) h(-1)) suggests the interaction of stratum corneum (SC) with LMWH which was confirmed using Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Fourier Transform-Infrared spectrophotometry. Maltose microneedles were then employed as a means to locally disrupt and bypass the SC. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and transcutaneous electrical resistance (TER) were measured to confirm the barrier disruption. Microneedles breached the SC resulting in increased TEWL, decreased TER and enhanced LMWH permeability (0.175 U cm(-2) h(-1)). Microneedles when used in conjunction with iontophoresis had a synergistic effect on LMWH delivery resulting in enhancement of flux by 14.7-fold as compared to iontophoresis used alone. Confocal laser scanning microscopy substantiated the evidence about LMWH interaction with SC. In conclusion, LMWH was shown to interact with SC and therefore tape stripping or microneedles dramatically increased its delivery due to disruption of the SC skin barrier.