Purpose: Most of the investigations into laser-assisted skin permeation have used the intact skin as the permeation barrier. Whether the laser is effective in improving cutaneous delivery via barrier-defective skin is still unclear. Methods: In this study, ablative (Er:YAG) and non-ablative (Er:glass) lasers were examined for the penetration of peptide and siRNA upon topical application on in vitro skin with a healthy or disrupted barrier. Results: An enhanced peptide flux (6.9 fold) was detected after tape stripping of the pig stratum corneum (SC). A further increase of flux to 11.7 fold was obtained after Er:YAG laser irradiation of the SC-stripped skin. However, the application of Er:glass modality did not further raise the flux via the SC-stripped skin. A similar trend was observed in the case of psoriasiform skin. Conversely, the flux was enhanced 3.7 and 2.6 fold after treatment with the Er:YAG and the Er:glass laser on the atopic dermatitis (AD)-like skin. The 3-D skin structure captured by confocal microscopy proved the distribution of peptide and siRNA through the microchannels and into the surrounding tissue. Conclusions: The fractional laser was valid for ameliorating macromolecule permeation into barrier-disrupted skin although the enhancement level was lower than that of normal skin.
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