Purpose Copper peptide (GHK-Cu) plays an important role in skin regeneration and wound healing. However, its skin absorption remains challenging due to its hydrophilicity. Here we use polymeric microneedle array to pre-treat skin to enhance GHK-Cu skin penetration. Methods Two in vitro skin models were used to assess the capability of microneedles in facilitating skin delivery of GHK-Cu. Histological assay and confocal laser scanning microscopy were performed to characterize and quantify the microconduits created by the microneedles inside skin. Cellular and porcine models were used to evaluate the safety of microneedle-assisted copper peptide delivery. Results The depth and percentage of microneedle penetration were correlated with application forces, which in turn influenced the extent of enhancement in the skin permeability of GHK-Cu. In 9 h, 134 ± 12 nanomoles of peptide and 705 ± 84 nanomoles of copper permeated though the microneedle treated human skin, while almost no peptide or copper permeated through intact human skin. No obvious signs of skin irritation were observed with the use of GHK-Cu after microneedle pretreatment. Conclusions It is effective and safe to enhance the skin permeation of GHK-Cu by using microneedles. This approach may be useful to deliver similar peptides or minerals through skin.
Li, Hairui, Yong Sheng Jason Low, Hui Ping Chong, Melvin T. Zin, Chi-Ying Lee, Bo Li, Melvina Leolukman, Lifeng Kang