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Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol 2011;3(3):202-209.

Original Article
Cutaneous vasomotor reactions in response to controlled heat applied on various
body regions of healthy humans: evaluation of time course and application

Parisa Gazerani, Lars Arendt-Nielsen

Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI), Department of Health Science and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University,

Received July 29, 2011; accepted August 31, 2011; Epub September 7, 2011; Published September 30, 2011

Abstract: Skin permeability and local blood perfusion are important factors for transdermal drug delivery. Application of heat is
expected to enhance microcirculation and local perfusion and/or blood vessel permeability, thus facilitating drug transfer to the
systemic circulation. In addition, heating prior to or during topical application of a drug may facilitate skin penetration, increase kinetic
energy, and facilitate drug absorption. The aim of the present study was to investigate skin vasomotor responses to mild heat
generated by a controlled heat device on several body regions of healthy male and female subjects. Skin vasomotor responses in
different body regions were recorded following different heat application paradigms (38, 41 and 43ºC, each for 15, 30, 60 sec). Test
regions were forehead, forearm, dorsal hand, dorsal foot, and abdomen. Prior to and following the application of heat, local blood
perfusion and skin temperature were measured by means of laser Doppler imaging (LDI) and thermography, respectively. It was found
that a short-lasting heat application (43°C for 60 seconds) causes significant cutaneous hyperaemia (up to 2 folds increase in skin
perfusion, and 5°C increase in skin temperature) existing for up to 15 minutes. The site of application and sex did not influence the
responses. The method was well tolerated without causing any pain or discomfort. These data suggest that controlled heat application
is a simple, non-invasive method to significantly enhance local perfusion which may improve transcutaneous drug delivery.

Keywords: Vasomotor, cutaneous, perfusion, skin, temperature

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Address all correspondence to:
Parisa Gazerani, Pharm D, PhD
Center for Sensory-Motor Interactions (SMI),
Department of Health Science and Technology,
Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University
Fredrik Bajers Vej 7D3, 9220, Aalborg, Denmark
Tel: +45 9940 2412
Fax: +45 9815 4008
E-mail: gazerani@hst.aau.dk