We previously reported that topical application of [Nle4,D-Phe7]alpha-MSH, a superpotent analogue of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone, to mice induces a darkening of follicular melanocytes throughout the skin. We now report that the melanotropin analogue can be delivered across mouse but not rat skin in an in vitro model system. Passage of the analogue from the topically applied vehicle (polyethylene glycol) across the skin into a subcutaneous receiving vessel was demonstrated by both bioassay as well as by radioimmunoassay. The bioassay data demonstrate that percutaneous absorption of the melanotropin did not result in loss of biological activity of the peptide. The differential penetration of the peptide across rodent skin reveals that one cannot predict percutaneous absorption of a substance across the stratum corneum from studies on a single species. The present results are the first to demonstrate, by direct quantitative measurements, that a bioactive peptide can be delivered across the vertebrate integument in vitro. These studies point out the potential of a topically applied melanotropin for tanning of the skin and possibly for treatment of certain hypopigmentary disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)