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RNA aptamer delivery through intact human skin

Lenn, J. D., Neil, J., Donahue, C., Demock, K., Tibbetts, C. V., Cote-Sierra, J., Smith, S. H., Rubenstein, D., Therrien, J.-P., Pendergrast, P. S., Killough, J., Brown, M. B. and Williams, A. ORCID: (2018) RNA aptamer delivery through intact human skin. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 138 (2). pp. 282-290. ISSN 1523-1747

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.07.851


It is generally recognised that only relatively small molecular weight (typically < ~500 Da) drugs can effectively permeate through intact stratum corneum. Here, we challenge this orthodoxy using a 62-nucleotide (MW=20,395) RNA-based aptamer, highly specific to the human IL-23 cytokine, with picomolar activity. Results demonstrate penetration of the aptamer into freshly excised human skin using two different fluorescent labels. A dual hybridisation assay quantified aptamer from the epidermis and dermis giving levels far exceeding the cellular IC50 values (> 100,000-fold) and aptamer integrity was confirmed using an oligonucleotide precipitation assay. A Th17 response was stimulated in freshly excised human skin resulting in significantly upregulated IL-17f, and 22; topical application of the IL-23 aptamer decreased both IL-17f and IL-22 by approximately 45% but did not result in significant changes to IL-23 mRNA levels, confirming that the aptamer did not globally suppress mRNA levels. This study demonstrates that very large molecular weight RNA aptamers can permeate across the intact human skin barrier to therapeutically relevant levels into both the epidermis and dermis and that the skin penetrating aptamer retains its biologically active conformational structure capable of binding to endogenous IL-23.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > School of Pharmacy > Pharmaceutics Research Group
ID Code:72470
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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