Immediate separation of microneedle tips from base array during skin insertion for instantaneous drug delivery
We have developed an insertion-responsive microneedle (IRMN) system that enables prompt drug delivery through the skin without attaching a skin patch. This system consists of square pyramidal hyaluronic acid (HA) microneedle tips and polycaprolactone (PCL) base arrays. During skin insertion, HA tips can be immediately separated from PCL base arrays due to the relatively weak adhesion strength between HA and PCL. Two base designs using truncated square pyramid stands, one without a wall (no-walled stand, NWS) and another with a wall on one side of the stand (single-walled stand, SWS), were prepared to study the effect of base geometry on the mechanical behavior of IRMNs. Ex vivo skin insertion tests showed successful separation of the tips from the base array upon insertion, regardless of the presence of a wall on the stand. However, only IRMNs-SWS were deeply embedded within the skin. Mechanical testing results demonstrated that the presence of a wall on the base enhanced the mechanical stability of the IRMNs. The wall also provided adequate adhesion between the tips and base, preventing the tips from breaking during insertion, while allowing the needle tip to separate upon removal. Histological examination confirmed that the tips were successfully separated from the base, embedded in the skin, and released fluorescent dyes within the skin. Our results suggest that the IRMN system is promising for the rapid and accurate delivery of various molecules through the skin, while improving user convenience by eliminating the need to attach microneedles to the skin.