Tacrolimus nanocrystals microneedle patch for plaque psoriasis.
International journal of pharmaceutics
Plaque psoriasis is characterized by an abnormal thickening of the epidermis, which causes great difficulties for traditional topical drug delivery. Microneedles can pierce the thickened epidermis and deliver drugs to the skin for psoriasis treatment. Tacrolimus is a poorly water-soluble immunosuppressant used for the treatment of psoriasis. In this study, tacrolimus (TAC) nanocrystals (NCs) were produced using a bottom-up technique that dispersed TAC into a sodium hyaluronate-based microneedle patch (MNP), and its therapeutic efficacy was evaluated. The average particle size of the TAC NCs was 259.6 ± 2.3 nm. The mechanical strength of the microneedles was 0.41 ± 0.06 N/needle, which was sufficient to penetrate psoriatic skin. Microneedles were detached from the substrate 10 min after insertion into the psoriasis skin with an insertion depth of 258.8 ± 14.4 μm. The intradermal retention of the MNP (8.40 ± 0.33 μg/cm) was six times that of the commercial ointment (1.40 ± 0.12 μg/cm). In pharmacodynamic experiments, results indicated improvement in the phenotypic and histopathological features and reduction in the level of TNF-α, IL-17A, and IL-23 of psoriatic skin treated with TAC NCs MNP. Therefore, MNP loaded with TAC NCs may be a promising approach for psoriasis treatment.