Enhancement of topical delivery of drugs via direct penetration by reducing blood flow rate in skin

K. Higaki, K. Nakayama, T. Suyama, Chomchan Amnuaikit, K. Ogawara, T. Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this work was to investigate the effect of blood flow in the skin on the direct penetration of topically applied drugs into the muscular layer, and to show that the skin blood flow could also be one of the important factors determining the direct penetration of drugs to the muscular layer. In vivo percutaneous absorption study was performed for antipyrine, salicylic acid or diclofenac by using rats with tape-stripped skin. Phenylephrine, which is well known to reduce the local blood flow by vasoconstrictor action, was topically applied to decrease the local blood flow in the skin. The concentrations of drugs in viable skin and muscle, and the local blood flow in the skin under the applied and the contralateral sites were determined to evaluate the effect of the local blood flow on the delivery of topically applied drugs into the muscular layer. Dose dependency for the effect of phenylephrine was, first of all, investigated for antipyrine in the range from 0.4 to 10 μmol. The distribution of antipyrine into the viable skin and muscular layer 2 h after topical application significantly increased, but the effect of phenylephrine was saturated around 2 μmol and the dose-dependent profiles for both tissues were almost superimposed. On the other hand, the fraction dose absorbed, plasma concentration and concentrations in viable skin and muscular layer under the contralateral site showed the decreasing tendency and the saturation of the effect around 2 μmol. To confirm the effect of phenylephrine on the local blood flow in the skin, the skin blood flow was measured 2 h after topical application of 2 μmol phenylephrine, and the significant decrease in the blood flow was recognized. In vivo percutaneous absorption studies were performed for salicylic acid and diclofenac, too. Extensive enhancement of penetration into the viable skin and muscular layer was observed for both drugs, although total absorption from the donor cell showed the decreasing tendency. In conclusion, direct penetration of drugs applied topically is enhanced by reducing the local blood flow in the skin, which would be a possible approach to improve the local delivery of drugs applied topically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2005



  • Direct penetration
  • Local therapeutics
  • Skin blood flow
  • Topical application
  • Transdermal absorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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