Effect of bicellar systems on skin properties

L. Barbosa-Barros, C. Barba, M. Cócera, L. Coderch, C. López-Iglesias, A. de la Maza, O. López

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    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Bicelles are discoidal aggregates formed by a flat dimyristoyl-glycero-phosphocholine (DMPC) bilayer, stabilized by a rim of dihexanoyl-glycero-phosphocholine (DHPC) in water. Given the structure, composition and the dimensions of these aggregates around 10-50 nm diameter, their use for topical applications is a promising strategy. This work evaluates the effect of DMPC/DHPC bicelles with molar ratio (2/1) on intact skin. Biophysical properties of the skin, such as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), elasticity, skin capacitance and irritation were measured in healthy skin in vivo. To study the effect of the bicellar systems on the microstructure of the stratum corneum (SC) in vitro, pieces of native tissue were treated with the aforementioned bicellar system and evaluated by freeze substitution applied to transmission electron microscopy (FSTEM). Our results show that bicelles increase the TEWL, the skin elastic parameters and, decrease skin hydration without promoting local signs of irritation and without affecting the SC lipid microstructure. Thus, a permeabilizing effect of bicelles on the skin takes place possibly due to the changes in the phase behaviour of the SC lipids by effect of phospholipids from bicelles. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-272
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2008


    • Biophysical properties of skin
    • Freeze-substitution transmission electron microscopy
    • Skin hydration
    • Stratum corneum microstructure
    • Stratum corneum permeability
    • Tewl

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