Noninvasive approach for enhancing small interfering RNA delivery percutaneously

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2016;13(2):265-80. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2016.1121988. Epub 2015 Dec 7.


Introduction: Topically applied small interfering RNA (siRNA) can be an effective treatment for skin disorders. Using noninvasive strategies can be a safe and effective siRNA-permeation-enhancement approach for facilitating skin delivery. It has been demonstrated that noninvasive approaches for enhancing siRNA transport provide some advantages, including enhanced storage stability, targeted delivery, improved permeability and increased bioavailability.

Areas covered: This review describes recent developments using noninvasive approaches for siRNA absorption enhancement. This review systematically introduces the concepts and enhancement mechanisms of the techniques, highlighting the potential of these techniques for increasing gene absorption via the skin. These techniques include nanomedicine, penetration enhancers, matrix-based delivery, microneedles, iontophoresis, electroporation and lasers. These modalities are useful for enhancing the permeation of a wide variety of siRNA for treating skin cancers, gene-related diseases, immune-related diseases and cutaneous wounds.

Expert opinion: The potential use of the noninvasive approaches affords a new treatment for topical siRNA application with significant efficacy. Further studies using a large group for humans or patients are needed to confirm and clarify the findings in animal studies. Although a safe and nontoxic outcome is claimed, the possible adverse effects and irritation elicited by the noninvasive techniques cannot be ignored.

Keywords: Cutaneous delivery; noninvasive approach; percutaneous absorption; siRNA; skin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Electroporation
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis
  • Lasers
  • Nanotechnology
  • RNA, Small Interfering / administration & dosage*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacokinetics*
  • Skin Absorption / physiology*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods*


  • RNA, Small Interfering