A Novel Approach to Modelling Water Transport and Drug Diffusion Through the Stratum Corneum

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Marquez-Lago et al. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2010, 7:33

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Background: The potential of using skin as an alternative path for systemicallyadministering active drugs has attracted considerable interest, since the creation ofnovel drugs capable of diffusing through the skin would provide a great steptowards easily applicable -and more humane- therapeutic solutions. However, fordrugs to be able to diffuse, they necessarily have to cross a permeability barrier: thestratum corneum (SC), the uppermost set of skin layers. The precise mechanism bywhich drugs penetrate the skin is generally thought to be diffusion of moleculesthrough this set of layers following a “tortuous pathway” around corneocytes, i.e.impermeable dead cells.Results: In this work, we simulate water transport and drug diffusion using a threedimensionalporous media model. Our numerical simulations show that diffusiontakes place through the SC regardless of the direction and magnitude of the fluidpressure gradient, while the magnitude of the concentrations calculated areconsistent with experimental studies.Conclusions: Our results support the possibility for designing arbitrary drugs capableof diffusing through the skin, the time-delivery of which is solely restricted by theirdiffusion and solubility properties.

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