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Comparison of the effects of short, high-voltage and long, medium-voltage pulses on skin electrical and transport properties
Vanbever R, Pliquett UF, Preat V, Weaver JC
Journal of Controlled Release 60: (1) 35-47 JUN 28 1999

High-voltage pulses have been shown to increase rates of transport across skin by several orders of magnitude on a time scale of minutes to seconds. Two main pulse protocols have been employed to promote transport: the intermittent application of short (similar to 1 ms) high-voltage (similar to 100 V across skin) pulses and a few applications of long (=100 ms) medium-voltage (>30 V across skin) pulses. In order to better evaluate the benefits of each protocol for transdermal drug delivery, we compared these two protocols in vitro in terms of changes in skin electrical properties and transport of sulforhodamine, a fluorescent polar molecule of 607 g/mol and a charge of -1. Whereas both protocols induced similar alterations and recovery processes of skin electrical resistance, long pulses of medium-voltage appeared to be more efficient in transporting molecules across skin. Skin resistance decreased by three (short pulses) and two (long pulses) orders of magnitude, followed by incomplete recovery in both cases. For the same total transported charge, long pulses induced faster and greater molecular transport across skin than short pulses. In addition, a greater fraction of the aqueous pathways created by the electric field was involved in molecular transport when using long pulse protocols. Transport was concentrated in localized transport regions (LTRs) for both protocols but LTRs created by long pulses were an order of magnitude larger than those formed by short pulses and the short pulses created an order of magnitude more LTRs. Overall, this study is consistent with the creation of fewer, but larger aqueous pathways by long, medium-voltage pulses in comparison to short, high-voltage pulses.

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