An evaluation of tocotrienol ethosomes for transdermal delivery using Strat-M® membrane and excised human skin

Rajesh Sreedharan Nair, Nashiru Billa, Chee Onn Leong, Andrew P. Morris

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Tocotrienol (TRF) ethosomes were developed and evaluated in vitro for potential transdermal delivery against melanoma. The optimised TRF ethosomal size ranged between 64.9 ± 2.2 nm to 79.6 ± 3.9 nm and zeta potential (ZP) between −53.3 mV to −62.0 ± 2.6 mV. Characterisation of the ethosomes by ATR-FTIR indicated the successful formation of TRF-ethosomes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images demonstrated the spherical shape of ethosomes, and the entrapment efficiencies of all the formulations were above 66%. In vitro permeation studies using full-thickness human skin showed that the permeation of gamma-T3 from the TRF ethosomal formulations was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than from the control. The cumulative amount of gamma-T3 permeated from TRF ethosome after 48 hours was 1.03 ± 0.24 µg cm−2 with a flux of 0.03 ± 0.01 µg cm−2 h−1. Furthermore, the flux of gamma-T3 across the Strat-M ® and the epidermal membrane was significantly higher than that across full-thickness human skin (p < 0.05). In vitro cytotoxicity studies on HaCat cells showed significantly higher cell viability than the pure drug solution (p < 0.05). The enhanced skin permeation and high cell viability associated with this formulation suggest a promising carrier for transdermal delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Development and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2021


  • cell-viability
  • ethosomes
  • human skin
  • permeation
  • Transdermal
  • TRF

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