Impact of different vehicles for laser-assisted drug permeation via skin: Full-surface versus fractional ablation

Woan Ruoh Lee, Shing Chuan Shen, Ibrahim A. Aljuffali, Yi Ching Li, Jia You Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to assess impact of different vehicles for laser-assisted skin drug delivery. We also tried to uncover the mechanisms by which different vehicles affect laser-aided skin permeation. Methods: Full-surface ablative (conventional) and fractional lasers were used to irradiate nude mouse skin. Imiquimod and 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) were used as lipophilic and hydrophilic permeants. Vehicles employed included water with 40% polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400), propylene glycol (PG), and ethanol. Lipid nanoparticles were also utilized as carriers. Results: In vitro permeation profiles showed improvement in imiquimod flux with conventional laser (2.5 J/cm2) producing a 12-, 9-, and 5-fold increase when loading imiquimod in 40% PEG400, PG, and ethanol, respectively, as compared with intact skin. Nanoparticulate delivery by laser produced a 6-fold enhancement in permeation. Fractional laser produced less enhancement of imiquimod delivery than conventional laser. Laser exposure increased follicular imiquimod accumulation from 0.80 to 5.81 μg/cm2. ALA permeation from aqueous buffer, PEG 400, and PG with conventional laser treatment was 641-, 445-, and 104-fold superior to passive control. In vivo skin deposition of topically applied ALA examined by confocal microscopy indicated the same trend as the in vitro experiment, with aqueous buffer showing the greatest proporphyllin IX signaling. Diffusion of cosolvent molecules into ablated skin and drug partitioning from vehicle to skin are two predominant factors controlling laser-assisted delivery. In contrast to conventional laser, lateral drug diffusion was anticipated for fractional laser. Conclusions: Our results suggest that different drug delivery vehicles substantially influence drug penetration enhanced by lasers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-393
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • 5-aminolevulinic acid
  • ablative laser
  • imiquimod
  • nanoparticle
  • vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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