Liposomes and skin: From drug delivery to model membranes
Maghraby, G. M., Barry, B. W. and Williams, A. C. (2008) Liposomes and skin: From drug delivery to model membranes. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 34 (4-5). pp. 203-222. ISSN 0928-0987
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ejps.2008.05.002
The early eighties saw the introduction of liposomes as skin drug delivery systems, initially promoted primarily for localised effects with minimal systemic delivery. Subsequently, a novel ultradeformable vesicular system (termed "Transfersomes" by the inventors) was reported for transdermal delivery with an efficiency similar to subcutaneous injection. Further research illustrated that the mechanisms of liposome action depended on the application regime and the vesicle composition and morphology. Ethical, health and supply problems with human skin have encouraged researchers to use skin models. 'IYaditional models involved polymer membranes and animal tissue, but whilst of value for release studies, such models are not always good mimics for the complex human skin barrier, particularly with respect to the stratum corneal intercellular lipid domains. These lipids have a multiply bilayered organization, a composition and organization somewhat similar to liposomes, Consequently researchers have used vesicles as skin model membranes. Early work first employed phospholipid liposomes and tested their interactions with skin penetration enhancers, typically using thermal analysis and spectroscopic analyses. Another approach probed how incorporation of compounds into liposomes led to the loss of entrapped markers, analogous to "fluidization" of stratum corneum lipids on treatment with a penetration enhancer. Subsequently scientists employed liposomes formulated with skin lipids in these types of studies. Following a brief description of the nature of the skin barrier to transdermal drug delivery and the use of liposomes in drug delivery through skin, this article critically reviews the relevance of using different types of vesicles as a model for human skin in permeation enhancement studies, concentrating primarily on liposomes after briefly surveying older models. The validity of different types of liposome is considered and traditional skin models are compared to vesicular model membranes for their precision and accuracy as skin membrane mimics. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.