Mechanisms of white mustard seed (Sinapis alba L.) volatile oils as transdermal penetration enhancers

Shi Fa Ruan, Zhu Xian Wang, Shi Jian Xiang, Huo Ji Chen, Qun Shen, Li Liu, Wen Feng Wu, Si Wei Cao, Zong Wei Wang, Zhi Jun Yang, Li Dong Weng, Hong Xia Zhu*, Qiang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the transdermal drug permeation enhancement properties and associated mechanisms of white mustard (Sinapis alba L.) seed volatile oil (SVO). Using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, we showed that SVO was composed primarily of allylisothiocyanate and isothiocyanatocyclopropane. Compared with azone, SVO had better penetration-enhancing effects on three model drugs (5-Fluorouracil, Osthole, and Paeonol), with each having different oil-water partition coefficients. Histopathology showed that SVO did not induce skin irritation when the concentration was lower than 2% (v/v), and it induced less irritation than azone. According to attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy, SVO induced skin lipid structural disorder and increased the distance between the stratum corneum, which is beneficial to the penetration of drugs. Cellular experiments showed that SVO inhibited Ca2+-ATPase activity, increased intracellular Ca2+ concentration, and changed the membrane potential in HaCaT cells, which promoted drug transfer into the skin. Our findings reveal that SVO is a safe and efficient natural product that has great potential as skin penetration enhancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104195
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

User-Defined Keywords

  • Membrane potential
  • Natural penetration enhancer
  • Percutaneous penetration
  • Volatile oil
  • White mustard


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