Lecithin-Based Dermal Drug Delivery for Anti-Pigmentation Maize Ceramide

Molecules. 2020 Mar 31;25(7):1595. doi: 10.3390/molecules25071595.


Ceramides have several well-known biological properties, including anti-pigmentation and anti-melanogenesis, which make them applicable for use in skincare products in cosmetics. However, the efficacy of ceramides is still limited. Dermal or transdermal drug delivery systems can enhance the anti-pigmentation properties of ceramides, although there is currently no systemic evaluation method for the efficacy of these systems. Here we prepared several types of lecithin-based emulsion of maize-derived glucosylceramide, determining PC70-ceramide (phosphatidylcholine-base) to be the safest and most effective anti-pigmentation agent using zebrafish larvae. We also demonstrated the efficacy of PC70 as a drug delivery system by showing that PC70-Nile Red (red fluorescence) promoted Nile Red accumulation in the larval bodies. In addition, PC70-ceramide suppressed melanin in mouse B16 melanoma cells compared to ceramide alone. In conclusion, we developed a lecithin-based dermal delivery method for ceramide using zebrafish larvae with implications for human clinical use.

Keywords: cone ceramide; in vivo imaging; zebrafish screening.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ceramides / administration & dosage*
  • Ceramides / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Lecithins / chemistry*
  • Melanoma, Experimental
  • Mice
  • Pigmentation / drug effects*
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects
  • Zea mays / chemistry*
  • Zebrafish


  • Ceramides
  • Drug Carriers
  • Lecithins