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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Atomic, Molecular and Chemical Physics, Biochemical research methods, Pharmacology and pharmacy, Medicinal chemistry

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“Estimating the analytical performance of Raman spectroscopy for quantification of active ingredients in Human stratum corneum”, Hichem Kichou, Emilie Munnier, Yuri Dancik, Kamilia Kemel, Hugh J Byrne, Ali Tfayli, Dominique Bertrand, Martin Soucé, Igor Chourpa, Franck Bonnier, Molecules, 27, 2843 April (2022)


Confocal Raman microscopy (CRM) has become a versatile technique that can be applied routinely to monitor skin penetration of active molecules. In the present study, CRM coupled to multivariate analysis (namely PLSR—partial least squares regression) is used for the quantitative measurement of an active ingredient (AI) applied to isolated (ex vivo) human stratum corneum (SC), using systematically varied doses of resorcinol, as model compound, and the performance is quantified according to key figures of merit defined by regulatory bodies (ICH, FDA, and EMA). A methodology is thus demonstrated to establish the limit of detection (LOD), precision, accuracy, sensitivity (SEN), and selectivity (SEL) of the technique, and the performance according to these key figures of merit is compared to that of similar established methodologies, based on studies available in literature. First, principal components analysis (PCA) was used to examine the variability within the spectral data set collected. Second, ratios calculated from the area under the curve (AUC) of characteristic resorcinol and proteins/lipids bands (1400–1500 cm−1) were used to perform linear regression analysis of the Raman spectra. Third, cross-validated PLSR analysis was applied to perform quantitative analysis in the fingerprint region. The AUC results show clearly that the intensities of Raman features in the spectra collected are linearly correlated to resorcinol concentrations in the SC (R2 = 0.999) despite a heterogeneity in the distribution of the active molecule in the samples. The Root Mean Square Error of Cross-Validation (RMSECV) (0.017 mg resorcinol/mg SC), The Root Mean Square of Prediction (RMSEP) (0.015 mg resorcinol/mg SC), and R2 (0.971) demonstrate the reliability of the linear regression constructed, enabling accurate quantification of resorcinol. Furthermore, the results have enabled the determination, for the first time, of numerical criteria to estimate analytical performances of CRM, including LOD, precision using bias corrected mean square error prediction (BCMSEP), sensitivity, and selectivity, for quantification of the performance of the analytical technique. This is one step further towards demonstrating that Raman spectroscopy complies with international guidelines and to establishing the technique as a reference and approved tool for permeation studies.