Study on the mechanisms of chitosan and its derivatives used as transdermal penetration enhancers.Int J Pharm. 2009 Dec 01; 382(1-2):234-43.IJ
The efficacy of chitosan (CS) and its derivatives used as transdermal penetration enhancers has been confirmed in our previous research. This study investigated the mechanisms of penetration enhancement by CS and its derivatives, i.e., N-trimethyl chitosan (TMC) with different degree of quaternization (DQ) and mono-N-carboxylmethyl chitosan (MCC). After treatment with CS, TMCs or MCC, the secondary structure changes of keratin in stratum corneum (SC) from mice were examined by an Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) combined with the application of the second-order derivative, deconvolution and curve-fitting. The water content in the SC was also studied by ATR-FTIR. HaCaT cell lines were employed as the cell models in the study. HaCaT cells were first treated with blank D-Hanks solution, CS or its derivatives, and were then fluorescent labeled with DiBAC(4) (3). The change of membrane potential was measured by a flow cytometer (FCM). Alternatively, the treated HaCaT cells were labeled with NBD-C(6)-HPC and the change of membrane fluidity was examined under a Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (CLSM). It was found that CS, TMCs and MCC could significantly affect the secondary structure of keratin in SC in different ways. Although the amide II absorption peak of keratin moved to a lower wave number following treatment with CS, TMCs, or MCC, the beta-turning structure of keratin was converted to beta-sheeting and random coiling after treatment with TMCs and was converted to beta-sheeting and alpha-helix following treatment with MCC and CS. At the same time, CS and its derivatives all could increase the water content of SC, decrease HaCaT cells membrane potentials and enhance HaCaT cells membrane fluidity significantly. The effect of TMCs appeared to be independent of their DQ. The results suggest that the mechanisms of transdermal enhancement of CS, TMCs and MCC are closely related to their effects on the secondary structure of keratin and water content in SC, cell membrane potential and fluidity.