Determination of the effect of lipophilicity on the in vitro permeability and tissue reservoir characteristics of topically applied solutes in human skin layers.
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In order to establish the relationship between solute lipophilicity and skin penetration (including flux and concentration behavior), we examined the in vitro penetration and membrane concentration of a series of homologous alcohols (C2-C10) applied topically in aqueous solutions to human epidermal, full-thickness, and dermal membranes. The partitioning/distribution of each alcohol between the donor solution, stratum corneum, viable epidermis, dermis, and receptor phase compartments was determined during the penetration process and separately to isolated samples of each tissue type. Maximum flux and permeability coefficients are compared for each membrane and estimates of alcohol diffusivity are made based on flux/concentration data and also the related tissue resistance (the reciprocal of permeability coefficient) for each membrane type. The permeability coefficient increased with increasing lipophilicity to alcohol C8 (octanol) with no further increase for C10 (decanol). Log vehicle:stratum corneum partition coefficients were related to logP, and the concentration of alcohols in each of the tissue layers appeared to increase with lipophilicity. No difference was measured in the diffusivity of smaller more polar alcohols in the three membranes; however, the larger more lipophilic solutes showed slower diffusivity values. The study showed that the dermis may be a much more lipophilic environment than originally believed and that distribution of smaller nonionized solutes into local tissues below a site of topical application may be estimated based on knowledge of their lipophilicity alone.
The Journal of investigative dermatology