Enhanced permeation of theophylline through the skin and its effect on fibroblast proliferation

Elka Touitou*, Francesca Levi-Schaffer, Naomi Shaco-Ezra, Ramy Ben-Yossef, Boris Fabin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


It is believed that theophylline can be helpful in psoriasis treatment by elevating cAMP levels. In the present study, theophylline skin permeation behavior from various enhancing carriers, as well as its efficacy in inhibiting psoriatic fibroblast proliferation in vitro, was studied. The results show that theophylline markedly inhibited normal and psoriatic dermal fibroblast proliferation when added to the cells at 1 mM concentration. Lower theophylline concentrations had no effect on psoriatic fibroblasts. From these results it can be assumed that a high concentration of drug needs to reach the dermis in order to be effective. The effect of oleic acid, propylene glycol and transcutol on the skin permeation fluxes of theophylline from various carrier systems (PEG base, cream, gel and ointment) was measured. The results clearly indicate that PEG base containing oleic acid and transcutol is the best enhancing carrier for theophylline (yielding a 260-times flux increase), among the systems investigated. This enhancing formulation was found to deliver to the dermis radiolabeled theophylline when applied to rat skin in vivo and visualized by autoradiography.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 31 Mar 1991


  • Enhanced permeation
  • Fibroblast
  • Oleic acid
  • Psoriasis
  • Theophylline
  • Transcutol


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced permeation of theophylline through the skin and its effect on fibroblast proliferation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this