Bubble growth within the skin by rectified diffusion might play a significant role in sonophoresis

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Abstract

Low frequency ultrasound has successfully been used for enhancing transdermal transport of a variety of different molecules. This phenomenon is referred to as sonophoresis. Several attempts have been made to investigate the enhancing mechanism in order to modulate the overall process.

In this study we assess whether rectified diffusion is a process that occurs within the skin, which could eventually lead to channeling and thereby to transdermal sonophoresis.

The model presented in this paper is based on the following postulate: gas bubbles are randomly distributed within the lipid bilayers of the stratum corneum (SC). As the skin is subjected to ultrasound, gas bubbles grow by rectified diffusion. During this period, bubbles may merge with the outer or inner boundaries of the SC, or merge with neighboring bubbles. Eventually, channels are created, allowing drugs to easily penetrate through the most significant barrier to transdermal delivery, the SC. As a result, transdermal transport rate is enhanced.

In this work, a mathematical model has been formulated, in which permeability enhancement of the SC is linked to channels, possibly created by means of rectified diffusion.

Sonophoresis may result from various mechanisms that act in synergy. The present model predicts that rectified diffusion might be one of the factors that lead to sonophoresis during ultrasound treatment.

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