Permeability and lipid organization of a novel psoriasis stratum corneum substitute.Int J Pharm. 2013 Nov 30; 457(1):275-82.IJ
Lipids in the uppermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC), play an important role in the skin barrier properties. The main lipid classes are ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids. In previous studies a stratum corneum substitute (SCS) was developed, solely prepared from the SC lipids. The SCS mimics the lipid barrier properties of SC very closely. The present study aimed to design a psoriasis SCS (PS-SCS) mimicking several aspects of the lipid composition in SC from psoriasis patients. This PS-SCS showed a different lipid organization than SCS. The main differences were a reduced presence of an orthorhombic packing and an increased level of crystalline cholesterol. These changes resulted in lower flux of hydrocortisone across PS-SCS than across SCS and SC, which was most likely attributed to the higher level of phase separated crystalline cholesterol in PS-SCS. As propylene glycol (PG) is often used in dermatological formulations, in subsequent studies the interaction of PG with SC and SCS membranes was also investigated. These studies revealed that PG increased the permeability of hydrocortisone, mainly by selectively extracting cholesterol from SCS membranes and SC. This may play an important role in the penetration enhancing effect of PG.