Evaluations of imidazolium ionic liquids as novel skin permeation enhancers for drug transdermal delivery
In this work, imidazolium ionic liquids (imidazolium ILs) were employed as the novel chemical permeation enhancers (CPEs) and their performances and mechanisms of action were deeply investigated. Testosterone was used as a model drug to investigate the transdermal delivery enhancement of twenty imdidazolium ILs. The results suggested that the promotion activity connected to the structure and composition of the ILs. The quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) model revealed a good linearity between the electronic properties of ILs and their enhancements. Furthermore, the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and scanning laser confocal microscope (CLSM) examinations showed the strong improvement of ILs on skin barrier permeability, which were well correlated with the drug penetration profiles. The total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and atomic force microscope (AFM) evaluations of skins indicated that the ILs can disrupt the regular and compact arrangements of the corneocytes, change the surface properties of stratum corneum, and make the skin structure more permeable. Our work demonstrated the significant skin permeation promotion profiles of the imidazolium ILs, which are of great potential in transdermal drug delivery systems.