FT-IR investigation of Terbinafine interaction with stratum corneum constituents

Yelena Pyatski, Carol R. Flach, Richard Mendelsohn

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5 Scopus citations


Terbinafine (Tbf) is a well-established anti-fungal agent used for management of a variety of dermal conditions including ringworm and athlete's foot. Both the biochemical mechanism of Tbf fungicidal action (based on squalene epoxidase inhibition) and the target region for Tbf in vivo (the stratum corneum (SC)) are well determined. However, the biochemical and pharmacokinetic approaches used to evaluate Tbf biochemistry provide no biophysical information about molecular level physical changes in the SC upon Tbf binding. Such information is necessary for improved drug and formulation design. IR spectroscopic methods were used to evaluate the effects of Tbf on keratin structure in environments commonly used in pharmaceutics to mimic those in vivo. The Amide I and II spectral regions (1500–1700 cm−1) provided an effective means to monitor keratin secondary structure changes, while a Tbf spectral feature near 775 cm−1 provides a measure of relative Tbf levels in skin. Interaction of Tbf with the SC induced substantial β-sheet formation in the keratin, an effect which was partially reversed both by ethanol washing and by exposure to high relative humidity. The irreversibility suggests the presence of a Tbf reservoir (consistent with kinetic studies), permitting the drug to be released in a controlled manner into the surrounding tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number183335
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • IR spectroscopy
  • Keratin
  • Protein secondary structure
  • Stratum corneum
  • Terbinafine


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