Infrared spectroscopic imaging tracks lateral distribution in human stratum corneum

Qihong Zhang, Peter Saad, Guangru Mao, Russel M. Walters, Mary Catherine Mack Correa, Richard Mendelsohn, Carol R. Flach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To demonstrate the efficacy of infrared (IR) spectroscopic imaging for evaluation of lateral diffusion in stratum corneum (SC) and for elucidation of intermolecular interactions between exogenous agents and SC constituents.

Methods: In separate experiments, acyl chain perdeuterated oleic acid (OA-d) and deuterated dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO-d) were applied to the surface of isolated human SC. The lateral distribution of permeant concentrations was monitored using the time-dependence of IR images. Diffusion coefficients (D) were estimated from Fick's second law. Interactions between the exogenous agents and the SC were tracked from changes in CD2 and Amide I stretching frequencies.

Results: Networked glyphs served as the major pathway for lateral distribution of OA-d. In glyph-poor regions, D values from 0.3-1∈×∈10-8 cm2s bracketed the OA-d data and apparently decreased with time. Although diffusion of DMSO-d is relatively fast compared to our experimental measurement time, the results suggest values of 10-7 cm2s. OA-d spectral changes suggest penetration into the ordered lipids of the SC; DMSO-d penetration results in perturbation of SC keratin structure.

Conclusions: IR imaging provides concentration profiles, diffusion coefficients, and unique molecular level information about structural changes in the endogenous SC constituents and exogenous agents upon their mutual interaction. Transport along glyphs is the dominant mode of distribution for OA-d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2762-2773
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 3 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Infrared (IR) imaging
  • glyphs
  • lateral diffusion
  • stratum corneum

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