Hydrogel-forming microneedle arrays: Potential for use in minimally-invasive lithium monitoring

Eyman Eltayib, Aaron J. Brady, Ester Caffarel-Salvador, Patricia Gonzalez Vazquez, Ahlam Zaid Alkilani, Helen O. McCarthy, James C. McElnay, Ryan F. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
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We describe, for the first time, hydrogel-forming microneedle (MN) arrays for minimally-invasive extraction and quantification of lithium in vitro and in vivo. MN arrays, prepared from aqueous blends of hydrolysed poly(methyl-vinylether-co-maleic anhydride) and crosslinked by poly(ethyleneglycol), imbibed interstitial fluid (ISF) upon skin insertion. Such MN were always removed intact. In vitro, mean detected lithium concentrations showed no significant difference following 30 min MN application to excised neonatal porcine skin for lithium citrate concentrations of 0.9 and 2 mmol/l. However, after 1 h application, the mean lithium concentrations extracted were significantly different, being appropriately concentration-dependent. In vivo, rats were orally dosed with lithium citrate equivalent to 15 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg lithium carbonate, respectively. MN arrays were applied 1 h after dosing and removed 1 h later. The two groups, having received different doses, showed no significant difference between lithium concentrations in serum or MN. However, the higher dosed rats demonstrated a lithium concentration extracted from MN arrays equivalent to a mean increase of 22.5 % compared to rats which received the lower dose. Hydrogel-forming MN clearly have potential as a minimally-invasive tool for lithium monitoring in out-patient settings. We will now focus on correlation of serum and MN lithium concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Early online date09 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Lithium
  • Microneedles
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Health Professions(all)


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