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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Imaging microscopic distribution of antifungal agents in dandruff treatments with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy
Author(s): Bhumika Singh; Natalie L. Garrett; Andrew Jones; Julian Moger
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Paper Abstract

Treatment of dandruff condition usually involves use of antidandruff shampoos containing antifungal agents. Different antifungal agents show variable clinical efficacy based on their cutaneous distribution and bioavailability. Using stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), we mapped the distribution of unlabeled low-molecular weight antifungal compounds zinc pyrithione (ZnPT) and climbazole (CBZ) on the surface of intact porcine skin with cellular precision. SRS has sufficient chemical selectivity and sensitivity to detect the agents on the skin surface based on their unique chemical motifs that do not occur naturally in biological tissues. Moreover, SRS is able to correlate the distribution of the agents with the morphological features of the skin using the CH 2 stretch mode, which is abundant in skin lipids. This is a significant strength of the technique since it allows the microscopic accumulation of the agents to be correlated with physiological features and their chemical environment without the use of counter stains. Our findings show that due to its lower solubility, ZnPT coats the surface of the skin with a sparse layer of crystals in the size range of 1 to 4    μ m . This is consistent with the current understanding of the mode of action of ZnPT. In contrast, CBZ being more soluble and hydrophobic resulted in diffuse homogeneous distribution. It predominantly resided in microscopic lipid-rich crevasses and penetrated up to 60    μ m into the infundibular spaces surrounding the hair shaft. The ability of the SRS to selectively map the distribution of agents on the skin’s surface has the potential to provide insight into the mechanisms underpinning the topical application of antifungal or skin-active agents that could lead to the rational engineering of enhanced formulations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 June 2017
PDF: 8 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 22(6) 066003 doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.22.6.066003
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 22, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
Bhumika Singh, Unilever R&D Port Sunlight (United Kingdom)
Natalie L. Garrett, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)
Andrew Jones, Unilever R&D Port Sunlight (United Kingdom)
Julian Moger, Univ. of Exeter (United Kingdom)

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