In vitro transdermal delivery of a melanotropic peptide through human skin

Brenda V. Dawson, Mac E. Hadley, Norman Levine, Kristie L. Kreutzfeld, Scott Don, Ted Eytan, Victor J. Hruby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A superpotent analogue of α-MSH, (Nle4, D-Phe7)-α-MSH, when applied topically to mice induces darkening of follicular melanocytes throughout the skin. In vitro studies have demonstrated delivery of the peptide across mouse but not rat skin. This variation in permeability of skin of animal models prompted us to use human skin in vitro. The melanotropin was applied to the surface of human skin samples through a permeation apparatus and allowed to penetrate for 24 h at 36°C. Passage of the analogue was shown by both bioassay and radioimmunoassay. These assays correlated well and demonstrated both the presence and the biologic integrity of the peptide after transdermal passage. Regional differences were noted in the degree of transdermal penetration. In addition, split thickness skin allowed greater penetration suggesting dermal binding of the hormone. This study is the first to show that a melanotropic peptide can be delivered transdermally through human skin in vitro. This has potential importance in the development of therapies for hypopigmentary disorders and for the stimulation of skin tanning without ultraviolet light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-435
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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