Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Novel imaging method to quantify stratum corneum in dermatopharmacokinetic studies:Proof-of-concept with acyclovir formulations

By L.M. Russell and R.H. Guy


Purpose: Tape-stripping the stratum corneum (SC) is used in the assessment of dermatopharmacokinetics (DPK). The amount of SC per tape can be determined gravimetrically, but a novel imaging method offers advantages in terms of sensitivity, reproducibility, precision, stability and speed. High-resolution images, acquired under controlled conditions, are analysed in terms of pixel greyscale values and distributions, and their usefulness in DPK studies is demonstrated in this study using acyclovir. Methods: At all tape-stripped sites, the SC amount per tape was measured gravimetrically and by imaging. In a first series of experiments, untreated sites were stripped to determine total SC thickness. Subsequently, post-application of two acyclovir creams, drug-permeation profiles were constructed. Results: The greyscale values from the imaging data can be used directly to estimate total SC thickness and DPK parameters. The results compared favourably with the traditional weighing method. The concentration of drug on each tape, as a function of the relative position within the SC, permitted diffusivity and partitioning parameters characterising the penetration of acyclovir to be derived. Conclusion: The new imaging approach offers a sensitive, reproducible, precise, and rapid technique to quantify the relative SC amount removed on tape-strips, and facilitates the acquisition of DPK data

Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s11095-012-0831-4
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2005). Are all aciclovir cream formulations bioequivalent?
  2. (2001). Assessment and prediction of the cutaneous bioavailability of topical terbinafine, in vivo, in man.
  3. (2003). Assessment of dermatopharmacokinetic approach in the bioequivalence determination of topical tretinoin gel products.
  4. (2011). Bioequivalence of topical clotrimazole formulations: an improved tape stripping method.
  5. (2002). Comparison of skin stripping, in vitro release, and skin blanching response methods to measure dose response and similarity of triamcinolone acetonide cream strengths from two manufactured sources.
  6. (2010). Comparison of tape stripping with the human skin blanching assay for the bioequivalence assessment of topical clobetasol propionate formulations.
  7. (2007). Dermatopharmacokinetic prediction of topical drug bioavailability in vivo.
  8. (2009). Dermatopharmacokinetics of betamethasone 17-valerate: Influence of formulation viscosity and skin surface cleaning procedure.
  9. (2009). Dermatopharmacokinetics: factors influencing drug clearance from the stratum corneum.
  10. (1999). Determination of the horny layer profile by tape stripping in combination with optical spectroscopy in the visible range as a prerequisite to quantify percutaneous absorption.
  11. (2001). Effect of ethanol and isopropyl myristate on the availability of topical terbinafine in human stratum corneum, in vivo.
  12. (2008). Effect of propylene glycol on ibuprofen absorption into human skin in vivo.
  13. (2003). Evaluation of the pseudo-absorption method to quantify human stratum corneum removed by tape stripping using the protein absorption.
  14. (1996). Homogeneous transport in a heterogeneous membrane: water diffusion across human stratum corneum in vivo.
  15. (2007). Ibuprofen transport into and through skin from topical formulations: in vitro-in vivo comparison.
  16. (2011). Imaging drug delivery to skin with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy Mol.
  17. (2001). In vivo assessment of enhanced topical delivery of terbinafine to human stratum corneum.
  18. (1987). In vivo percutaneous penetration of some organic compounds related to anatomic site in humans: predictive assessment by the stripping method.
  19. (1984). Measurement of transepidermal water loss using an evaporimeter to follow the restitution of the barrier layer of human epidermis after stripping the stratum corneum.
  20. (2012). Novel imaging method to quantify stratum corneum in dermatopharmacokinetic studies.
  21. (2009). Pharmacodynamics and dermatopharmacokinetics of betamethasone 17-valerate: assessment of topical bioavailability.
  22. (2006). Pig ear skin ex vivo as a model for in vivo dermatopharmacokinetic studies in man.
  23. (1971). Regeneration of human epidermal surface and water barrier function after stripping. A combined study with electron microscopy and measurement of evaporative loss.
  24. (2011). Relevance of equivalence assessment of topical products based on the dermatopharmacokinetics approach.
  25. (2012). Skin permeation assessment: tape stripping. In:
  26. (2008). The determination of stratum corneum thickness - An alternative approach.
  27. (1996). The epidermal hyperplasia associated with repeated barrier disruption by acetone treatment or tape stripping cannot be attributed to increased water loss. Arch Dermatol Res.
  28. (2009). The tape stripping procedure-evaluation of some critical parameters.
  29. (2003). UV/VIS absorbance allows rapid, accurate, and reproducible mass determination of corneocytes removed by tape stripping.
  30. (1973). Variations in physical dimensions and chemical composition of human stratum corneum.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.