Hair follicle research is currently focused on the development of drug-loaded nanocarriers for the targeting of follicular structures in the treatment of skin and hair follicle-related disorders. In the present study, a dual-label nanocarrier system was implemented in which FITC-labeled BSA hydrogel nanocarriers loaded with the model drug and dye TRITC-dextran were applied topically to porcine ear skin. Follicular penetration and the distribution of both dyes corresponding to the nanocarriers and the model drug in the follicular ducts subsequent to administration to the skin were investigated using confocal laser scanning microscopy.
The release of TRITC-dextran from the particles was induced by washing of the nanocarriers, which were kept in a buffer containing TRITC-labeled dextran to balance out the diffusion of the dextran during storage, thereby changing the concentration gradient. The results showed a slightly but statistically significantly deeper follicular penetration of fluorescent signals corresponding to TRITC-dextran as opposed to fluorescence corresponding to the FITC-labeled particles. The different localizations of the dyes in the cross-sections of the skin samples evidenced the release of the model drug from the labeled nanoparticles.