Microneedles from fish scale biopolymer

This article reports on microneedles produced from biopolymer films extracted from fish scales of tilapia (Oreochromiss sp.) using micromolding technique. Evaluation of the properties of polypeptide films prepared from the fish scales gave refractive index (1.34), protein concentration (78%), ash content (1.6%) at (22%) moisture content. The microneedles successfully inserted into artificial skin models and imaging using digital camera showed microneedles remained intact when inserted and when removed from the skin model. Microneedles also successfully inserted into porcine skin and were shown to dissolve gradually at 0 s, 60 s, 120 s, and 180 s after insertion. Microneedles containing methylene blue as model drug were also produced and successfully pierced porcine skin. 3D finite element (FEM) simulations were performed using the measured mechanical properties of the biopolymer films (Young's modulus 0.23 N/mm2 and tensile strength 1.8105 N/mm2) to evaluate the stress distribution on various dimensions of the fish scale derived microneedles and hence, their ability to withstand force necessary to pierce the skin without fracture. Results from mechanical analysis using FEM showed that microneedles with tip radius between 10 and 100 μm could withstand up to 0.12 N of force per microneedle without fracture, which is indicated when the stress at the tip of the microneedle exceeds the ultimate stress of the material of fabrication. Using skin insertion tests and finite element simulations, this study provides evidence that microneedles fabricated from fish scale biopolymer can effectively pierce and degrade into skin and therefore are good candidate for transdermal applications.