Hydrogel-Forming Microneedles Increase in Volume During Swelling in Skin, but Skin Barrier Function Recovery is Unaffected

Ryan F. Donnelly, Karen Mooney, Maelíosa T. C. McCrudden, Eva M. Vicente-Pérez, Luc Belaid, Patricia González-Vázquez, James C. McElnay, A. David Woolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


We describe, for the first time, quantification of in-skin swelling and fluid uptake by hydrogel-forming microneedle (MN) arrays and skin barrier recovery in human volunteers. Such MN arrays, prepared from aqueous blends of hydrolyzed poly(methylvinylether/maleic anhydride) (15%, w/w) and the cross-linker poly(ethyleneglycol) 10,000 Da (7.5%, w/w), were inserted into the skin of human volunteers (n = 15) to depths of approximately 300 μm by gentle hand pressure. The MN arrays swelled in skin, taking up skin interstitial fluid, such that their mass had increased by approximately 30% after 6 h in skin. Importantly, however, skin barrier function recovered within 24 h after MN removal, regardless of how long the MN had been in skin or how much their volume had increased with swelling. Further research on closure of MN-induced micropores is required because transepidermal water loss measurements suggested micropore closure, whereas optical coherence tomography indicated that MN-induced micropores had not closed over, even 24 h after MN had been removed. There were no complaints of skin reactions, adverse events, or strong views against MN use by any of the volunteers. Only some minor erythema was noted after patch removal, although this always resolved within 48 h, and no adverse events were present on follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1478-1786
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number5
Early online date14 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association.

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