Predicting skin permeability

Pharm Res. 1992 May;9(5):663-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1015810312465.


Published permeability coefficient (Kp) data for the transport of a large group of compounds through mammalian epidermis were analyzed by a simple model based upon permeant size [molecular volume (MV) or molecular weight (MW)] and octanol/water partition coefficient (Koct). The analysis presented is a facile means to predict the percutaneous flux of pharmacological and toxic compounds solely on the basis of their physiocochemical properties. Furthermore, the derived parameters of the model have assignable biophysical significance, and they provide insight into the mechanism of molecular transport through the stratum corneum (SC). For the very diverse group of chemicals considered, the results demonstrate that SC intercellular lipid properties alone are sufficient to account for the dependence of Kp upon MV (or MW) and Koct. It is found that the existence of an "aqueous-polar (pore) pathway" across the SC is not necessary to explain the Kp values of small, polar nonelectrolytes. Rather, their small size, and consequently high diffusivity, accounts for their apparently larger-than-expected Kp. Finally, despite the size and breadth of the data set (more than 90 compounds with MW ranging from 18 to greater than 750, and log Koct ranging from -3 to +6), the postulated upper limiting value of Kp for permeants of very high lipophilicity cannot be determined. However, the analysis is able to define the physicochemical characteristics of molecules which should exhibit these maximal Kp values.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Permeability
  • Regression Analysis
  • Skin Absorption / physiology*