Transdermal delivery of rapamycin with poor water-solubility by dissolving polymeric microneedles for anti-angiogenesis†
Angiogenesis plays an important role in the occurrence and development of skin tumors and vascular anomalies (VAs). Many drugs have been adopted for the inhibition of angiogenesis, among which rapamycin (RAPA) possesses good application prospects. However, the clinical potential of RAPA for VAs is limited by its poor solubility, low bioavailability, and high cytotoxicity. To extend its application prospect for VAs treatment, in this study, we develop RAPA-loaded dissolving polymeric microneedles (RAPA DMNs) made of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) due to its excellent solubilizing ability. RAPA DMNs are shown to have sufficient mechanical strength to overcome the skin barrier of the stratum corneum and could deliver RAPA to a depth of 200 μm. The microneedle shafts completely dissolve and 80% of the drug could be released within 10 min after insertion ex vivo. The DMNs-penetrated mice skin could repair itself within 4 h after the application of RAPA DMNs. RAPA DMNs also show good anti-angiogenic effect by inhibiting the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and decreasing the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Therefore, RAPA DMNs promisingly provide a safe and efficient approach for VAs treatment.