Improved pharmacokinetic and lymphatic uptake of Rose Bengal after transfersome intradermal deposition using hollow microneedles

Sara Demartis, Giovanna Rassu, Qonita Kurnia Anjani, Fabiana Volpe-Zanutto, Aaron Hutton, Akmal Hidayat Bin Sabri, Helen McCarthy, Paolo Giunchedi, Ryan F. Donnelly, Elisabetta Gavini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The lymphatic system is active in several processes that regulate human diseases, among which cancer progression stands out. Thus, various drug delivery systems have been investigated to promote lymphatic drug targeting for cancer therapy; mainly, nanosized particles in the 10–150 nm range quickly achieve lymphatic vessels after an interstitial administration. Herein, a strategy to boost the lymphotropic delivery of Rose Bengal (RB), a hydrosoluble chemotherapeutic, is proposed, and it is based on the loading into Transfersomes (RBTF) and their intradermal deposition in vivo by microneedles. RBTF of 96.27 ± 13.96 nm (PDI = 0.29 ± 0.02) were prepared by a green reverse-phase evaporation technique, and they showed an RB encapsulation efficiency of 98.54 ± 0.09%. In vitro, RBTF remained physically stable under physiological conditions and avoided the release of RB. In vivo, intravenous injection of RBTF prolonged RB half-life of 50 min in healthy rats compared to RB intravenous injection; the RB half-life in rat body was further increased after intradermal injection reaching 24 h, regardless of the formulation used. Regarding lymphatic targeting, RBTF administered intravenously provided an RB accumulation in the lymph nodes of 12.3 ± 0.14 ng/mL after 2 h, whereas no RB accumulation was observed after RB intravenous injection. Intradermally administered RBTF resulted in the highest RB amount detected in lymph nodes after 2 h from the injection (84.2 ± 25.10 ng/mL), which was even visible to the naked eye based on the pink colouration of the drug. In the case of intradermally administered RB, RB in lymph node was detected only at 24 h (13.3 ± 1.41 ng/mL). In conclusion, RBTF proved an efficient carrier for RB delivery, enhancing its pharmacokinetics and promoting lymph-targeted delivery. Thus, RBTF represents a promising nanomedicine product for potentially facing the medical need for novel strategies for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-375
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Early online date3 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Rose Bengal
  • Transfersome
  • Microneedle
  • Lymphatics
  • Intradermal
  • Cancer


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved pharmacokinetic and lymphatic uptake of Rose Bengal after transfersome intradermal deposition using hollow microneedles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this