The implementation of the delivery gap principle to develop an effective transdermal delivery system for caffeine
Van Dijken, Catharina Elizabeth
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Caffeine is frequently used in cosmetics due to its well-characterised skin permeation properties and is widely incorporated in cosmetic-related products intended for skin (Samah & Heard, 2013:631). Despite its polar characteristics (Dias et al., 1999:41), caffeine is an important biologically and cosmetically active compound (Herman & Herman, 2012:13). This active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) has a broad range of advantages in the world of cosmetics, including the improvement of microcirculation in the capillaries (Lupi et al., 2007:107), showing anti-cellulite activity in the fatty tissue (Velasco et al., 2008:24), anti-oxidation activity in sunscreens & anti-ageing products (Koo et al., 2007:964) and the stimulation of hair growth (Fisher et al., 2007:27). Caffeine has also shown significant decreases in UV-induced skin tumour multiplicity (Lu et al., 2001:5003, 5008) and has been proven to prevent photo-damaged skin, which includes the formation of wrinkles and histological alterations (Mitani et al., 2007:86). It is therefore clear that the challenge for the dermal delivery of the hydrophilic caffeine is for it to be retained in the specific skin layers (dermal delivery) where it can exert its action, rather than to permeate through the skin and into the hydrophilic systemic circulation (transdermal delivery) (Wiechers et al., 2008:10). In this study the calculated skin delivery gap (SDG) values, and the transdermal and dermal delivery of caffeine from three different semi-solid topical formulations were compared. The SDG theory was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of dermal delivery of API from topical formulations and is known as the ratio between the concentration required to achieve minimum effect relative to the concentration obtained at the target site (JW Solutions, 2011). During this study the principle of the SDG was investigated by using the formulating strategy, Formulating for Efficacy (FFE™), which aims to optimise skin delivery of APIs from different formulations. The SDG was therefore implemented and in vitro transdermal studies were utilised to ultimately prove or disprove the hypothesis of SDG on the prediction of the topical delivery of caffeine. The human skin consists of two distinctive layers namely the epidermis (including the stratum corneum (SC) and viable dermis) and the dermis (Menon, 2002:S3). The main barrier to dermal and transdermal permeation is the outermost layer of the skin, the SC (Fang et al., 2007:343). The difference between the target site for dermal and transdermal delivery of APIs is crucial to be mentioned. Dermal delivery includes the delivery of an API to the skin surface, SC, viable epidermis or dermis, whereas transdermal delivery requires the API to permeate all the way through the various skin layers and into the systemic circulation (Wiechers, 2000:42). Since this study involves the optimisation of the topical delivery of caffeine, the physicochemical properties of this API as well as those of the skin should be considered. As mentioned before, caffeine is a rather polar molecule (Dias et al., 1999:41), whereas the SC (lipophilic) provides the rate-limiting barrier to the percutaneous absorption of polar (hydrophilic) molecules, such as caffeine (Barry, 1983:105). Caffeine was incorporated into three different formulations: a gel and two creams (differing only in the ratio of the primary and secondary emollient). The three topical formulations each had different polarities, where the Gel represented the hydrophilic formulation (more polar than the skin), whereas the first cream, Cream 1 (containing 5% DMI and 9% glycerine), served as the intermediate formulation (similar polarity as the SC), and the second cream, Cream 2 (10% DMI and 4% glycerine), was the formulation less polar (therefore more lipophilic) than the SC. Franz cell type transdermal diffusion studies were performed on the three semi-solid formulations (Gel, Cream 1 and Cream 2). The diffusion studies were conducted over a period of 12 h, followed by the tape stripping of the skin directly after each diffusion study. Caucasian female abdominal skin was obtained with consent from willing donors. Ethical approval for the acquisition and use of the donated skin was granted under reference number NWU-00114-11-A5. The formulations each contained 1% of caffeine as API. The skin used for the diffusion studies was prepared with the use of a Zimmer Dermatome®. The receptor phase of each Franz cell was withdrawn at predetermined time intervals and subsequently analysed with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in order to determine the concentration of caffeine that permeated through the skin. Stratum corneum-epidermis (SCE) and epidermis-dermis (ED) samples were prepared and left overnight at a temperature of 4 °C, and they were analysed the following day with the use of HPLC in order to determine the concentration of caffeine that had accumulated in the particular skin layers. The SDG value for each caffeine formulation was calculated and it was compared to the flux and tape stripping results obtained from the diffusion studies. To ultimately prove or disprove the SDG theory, the skin diffusion studies and tape stripping results were used to determine whether any difference occurred in the absorption or penetration of the API from the different formulations into the skin. The formulation with the intermediate polarity (Cream 1) produced the highest transdermal flux of caffeine due to the hydrophilic and lipophilic nature of caffeine and the formulation, respectively. Cream 1 is sufficiently lipophilic to transport caffeine into the SC and at the same time sufficiently hydrophilic (more polar than Cream 2) to cause a greater driving force of caffeine through to the more hydrophilic epidermis, dermis and systemic circulation. The results from the tape stripping yielded that Cream 2 (the more lipophilic formulation) produced the highest concentration of caffeine into the SCE due to the hydrophilic and lipophilic nature of caffeine and the formulation, respectively. The difference in polarity between the formulation and the API in Cream 2 was the greatest compared to the other formulations, which significantly increased the driving force of caffeine to partition into the SC (Wiechers et al., 2004:177). The hydrophilic gel showed the highest concentration of caffeine in the ED layer of the skin due to the hydrophilic compounds formulated in the Gel, which showed greater ability to partition into the aqueous dermis and viable epidermis (Imai et al., 2013:372). Cream 2 had the lowest calculated SDG value compared to that of the Gel and Cream 1. The smaller the delivery gap, the greater the delivery of the API should be into the skin (Wiechers, 2010). Considering this, it was expected that Cream 2 would deliver greater amounts of caffeine into the skin than the more hydrophilic formulations. Cream 2, which showed the lowest calculated SDG value delivered the highest amount of caffeine into the SCE during the diffusion studies. The calculated SDG values therefore are consistent with the concentration of caffeine in the SCE (the lowest SDG value produced the highest concentration of API in the SCE). However, no correlations were found between the calculated SDG values and ED delivery or the flux of caffeine. The final conclusion for this study is that the SDG theory proved to be effective and trustworthy regarding the delivery of caffeine into the SC.
- Health Sciences