Eyelid skin as a potential site for drug delivery to conjunctiva and ocular tissues

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The feasibility of topical application onto the (lower) eyelid skin to deliver hydrophilic and lipophilic compounds into the conjunctiva and ocular tissues was evaluated by comparing with conventional eye drop application. Skin permeation and the concentration of several model compounds, and skin impedance were determined utilizing eyelid skin from hairless rats, as well as abdominal skin in the same animals for comparison. In vitro static diffusion cells were used to assess the skin permeation in order to provide key insights into the relationship between the skin sites and drugs. The obtained results revealed that drug permeation through the eyelid skin was much higher than that through abdominal skin regardless of the drug lipophilicity. Specifically, diclofenac sodium salt and tranilast exhibited approximately 6-fold and 11-fold higher permeability coefficients, respectively, through eyelid skin compared with abdominal skin. Histomorphological evaluation and in vivo distribution of model fluorescent dyes were also examined in the conjunctiva and skin after eyelid administration by conventional microscope and confocal laser scanning microscope analyses. The result revealed that eyelid skin has a thinner stratum corneum, thereby showing lower impedance, which could be the reason for the higher drug permeation through eyelid skin. Comparative evaluation of lipophilic and hydrophilic model compounds administered via the eyelid skin over 8 h revealed stronger fluorescence intensity in the skin and surrounding tissues compared with eye drop administration. These results suggested that the (lower) eyelid skin is valuable as a prospective site for ophthalmic medicines.

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