NoThis work explored the role of skin appendages (shunt route) in passive and iontophoretic drug and liposome penetration. The technique used an epidermis and stratum corneum sandwich from the same skin donor with the additional stratum corneum forming the top layer of the sandwich. Penetration was monitored during occluded passive and iontophoretic (0.5 mA cm-2) delivery of mannitol and estradiol solutions, and ultradeformable liposomes containing estradiol. The shunt route had a significant role during passive penetration of mannitol (hydrophilic compound), but was negligible during penetration of estradiol (lipophilic drug) and liposomes. In iontophoresis, the shunt route significantly contributed to the overall flux of all preparations, being highest for mannitol. However, shunts were not the only pathway for iontophoretic drug delivery and evidence was observed for the creation of new aqueous pathways via disorganization of the intercellular lipid domain of stratum corneum. The skin sandwich technique should prove valuable for general studies on routes of skin penetration
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