Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 435–446

Squalene-Containing Nanostructured Lipid Carriers Promote Percutaneous Absorption and Hair Follicle Targeting of Diphencyprone for Treating Alopecia Areata

  • Yin-Ku Lin
  • Saleh A. Al-Suwayeh
  • Yann-Lii Leu
  • Feng-Ming Shen
  • Jia-You Fang
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11095-012-0888-0

Cite this article as:
Lin, YK., Al-Suwayeh, S.A., Leu, YL. et al. Pharm Res (2013) 30: 435. doi:10.1007/s11095-012-0888-0



Diphencyprone (DPCP) is a therapeutic agent for treating alopecia areata. To improve skin absorption and follicular targeting nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) were developed.


Nanoparticles were characterized by size, zeta potential, molecular environment, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). In vitro and in vivo skin absorption experiments were performed. Fluorescence and confocal microscopes for imaging skin distribution were used.


NLCs with different designs were 208 ~ 265 nm with  > 77% DPCP encapsulation. NLCs incorporating a cationic surfactant or more soybean phosphatidylcholine (SPC) showed higher lipophilicity compared to typical NLCs by Nile red emission. All NLCs tested revealed controlled DPCP release; burst release was observed for control. The formulation with more SPC provided 275 μg/g DPCP skin retention, which was greater than control and other NLCs. Intersubject deviation was reduced after DPCP loading into NLCs. Cyanoacrylate skin biopsy demonstrated greater follicular deposition for NLCs with more SPC compared to control. Cationic NLCs but not typical or SPC-containing carriers were largely internalized into keratinocytes. In vivo skin retention of NLCs with more SPC was higher than free control. Confocal imaging confirmed localization of NLCs in follicles and intercellular lipids of stratum corneum.


This work encourages further investigation of DPCP absorption using NLCs with a specific formulation design.


alopecia areatadiphencypronehair folliclesnanostructured lipid carrierspercutaneous absorption

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yin-Ku Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Saleh A. Al-Suwayeh
    • 3
  • Yann-Lii Leu
    • 4
  • Feng-Ming Shen
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jia-You Fang
    • 5
    • 7
  1. 1.School of Traditional Chinese MedicineChang Gung UniversityKweishanTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Traditional Chinese MedicineChang Gung Memorial HospitalKeelungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutics, College of PharmacyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Natural Products Laboratory, Graduate Institute of Natural ProductsChang Gung UniversityKweishanTaiwan
  5. 5.Pharmaceutics Laboratory, Graduate Institute of Natural ProductsChang Gung UniversityKweishanTaiwan
  6. 6.Chinese Herbal Medicine Research Team Healthy Aging Research CenterChang Gung UniversityKweishanTaiwan
  7. 7.Department of Cosmetic ScienceChang Gung University of Science & TechnologyKweishanTaiwan