|Little is known about the transdermal penetration of hydrocortisone in the horse and, although commercial formulations containing hydrocortisone are registered for topical use in the horse, there have been no studies investigating the movement of this glucocorticoid through different regions of equine skin.
Skin was harvested from the thorax, groin and leg (dorsal metacarpal) regions of five Thoroughbred geldings and frozen (−20 ┬░C) until required.
Defrosted skin was placed in Franz-type diffusion cells and the amount of radiolabelled (3H) hydrocortisone, in a saturated solution of unlabelled hydrocortisone in 50% ethanol (w/w), which penetrated through and remained within skin samples was measured over 24 h.
Significantly higher (P < 0.001) maximum flux (Jmax; mol/cm2/h) was measured when hydrocortisone was applied to skin from the leg, compared to thorax and groin, although significantly less hydrocortisone (P < 0.001) was retained within skin from the leg at 24 h.
Topical application of hydrocortisone in a vehicle containing ethanol would penetrate faster through leg skin from the lower leg when compared with the thorax or groin, which depending on cutaneous blood flow, may result in higher systemic drug concentrations or greater efficiency in treating local inflamed tissue.
Source: MILLS, P. C. & CROSS, S. E. (2006): Regional differences in the in vitro penetration of hydrocortisone through equine skin. In: Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 29 (1), 25-30.