This study aimed to investigate transdermal delivery of proteins using combination of microporation and iontophoresis (ITP).Materials & methods & results:
Delivery of model protein, Alexa Fluor 555 bovine serum albumin conjugate (AF-BSA) using ITP alone, microneedle (MN) alone, and ITP plus MN combination was assessed using confocal microscopy. Compared to MN alone, combination of MN plus ITP significantly increased skin's penetration depth of AF-BSA (300 vs 110 μm) and achieved lateral distribution of the model protein. Average fluorescence intensity quantified around each microchannel was 23.7-fold (8.2-fold, in vivo) higher for combination treatment compared with MN alone, in vitro. After 1 h in vitro permeation study, the unlabeled BSA amount delivered across skin was found to be 0, 1.4, 0.63 and 14 μg by passive, MN alone, ITP alone and ITP plus MN combination delivery, respectively.