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Int J Biol Macromol. 2018 Apr 15;110:30-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2017.12.027. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Microneedles: A versatile strategy for transdermal delivery of biological molecules.

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Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, United States.
Organogenesis, Surgical and Sports Medicine, Birmingham, AL, United States.
School of Integrative Engineering, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
Stem Cell Engineering Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Science, College of Life Science, CHA University, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


Human skin is made up of multiple layers and is designed to protect the human body. The stratum corneum (SC), specifically, is a keratinized layer of skin through which molecules heavier than 500 Da cannot penetrate. Traditional methods of transdermal drug delivery through the SC, such as hypodermic needles, are less than ideal because their size and appearance can cause fear and pain, creating hesitation, limiting self-administration, and preventing their use in some patients altogether. A new technology has been developed to address these limitations, in which an array of needles, each microns in diameter and length, called microneedles, are able to pierce the skin's SC to deliver therapeutic agents without stimulating the proprioceptive pain nerves. These needles provide a strong advantage because they are capable of being incorporated into patches that can be conveniently self-administered by patients, while also offering the same bioabsorption and bioavailability currently provided by hypodermic needles. There have been many advancements in microneedle fabrication, and there are currently many variations of microneedle technology. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to provide a broad, introductory summary of current microneedle technology.


Biomacromolecules; Microneedles; Microscale Fabrication; Polymers; Transdermal Drug Delivery

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