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The application of local hypobaric pressure - A novel means to enhance macromolecule entry into the skin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society
Early online date29 Jan 2016
Accepted/In press27 Jan 2016
E-pub ahead of print29 Jan 2016
Published28 Mar 2016


King's Authors


The local application of controlled hypobaric stress represents a novel means to facilitate drug delivery into the skin. The aims of this work were to understand how hypobaric stress modified the properties of the skin and assess if this penetration enhancement strategy could improve the percutaneous penetration of a macromolecule. Measurements of skin thickness demonstrated that the topical application of hypobaric stress thinned the tissue (p <0.05), atomic force microscopy showed that it shrunk the corneocytes in the stratum corneum (p <0.001) and the imaging of the skin hair follicles using multiphoton microscopy showed that it opened the follicular infundibula (p <0.001). Together, these changes contributed to a 19.6-fold increase in in vitro percutaneous penetration of a 10,000 molecular weight dextran molecule, which was shown using fluorescence microscopy to be localized around the hair follicles, when applied to the skin using hypobaric stress. In vivo, in the rat, a local hemodynamic response (i.e. a significant increase in blood flow, p <0.001) was shown to contribute to the increase in follicular transport of the dextran to produce a systemic absorption of 7.2 ± 2.81 fg·mL- 1. When hypobaric stress was not applied to the rat there was no detectable absorption of dextran and this provided evidence that this novel penetration enhancement technique can improve the percutaneous penetration of macromolecules after topical application to the skin.

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