Transdermal delivery of human insulin to albino rabbits using electrical current
Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental
The transdermal route of administration for medication has many potential advantages over other routes of administration. However, the stratum corneum is an effective barrier to the absorption of most chemicals from the external environment into the body. To evaluate techniques for alteration of transdermal permeability, the authors studied the effect of low levels of electrical current on transport of a protein across the stratum corneum. Transcutaneous insulin absorption was used as an indicator of altered permeability. Twenty-six albino rabbits had acute diabetes mellitus induced by the intravenous administration of 125 mg/kg of alloxan. The animals then received either cutaneous patches containing insulin and an electrical current of 0.4 mA (active) or patches containing an equal amount of insulin but without electrical current (passive). At 10 and 12 hours after the placement of the patches, animals with active patches had significant elevations in serum insulin levels (p less than .05) and reduction in blood glucose levels (p less than .01). No changes were seen in controls. Animals with active patches also had significant differences from control animals in mean insulin response and peak insulin response (p less than .05). No cutaneous toxicity was observed in any of the animals. The authors conclude that low levels of electrical current can induce changes in stratum corneum permeability that are sufficient to produce the transdermal absorption of physiologic doses of a protein such as human insulin.