Quantum dot (QD) nanoparticles have received attention due to their fluorescent characteristics and potential use in medical applications. Skin penetration is one of the major routes of exposure for nanoparticles to gain access to a biological system. QD655 and QD565 coated with carboxylic acid were studied for 8 and 24 h in flow-through diffusion cells with flexed, tape-stripped and abraded rat skin to determine if these mechanical actions could perturb the barrier and affect penetration. Nonflexed skin did not show QD penetration at 8 or 24 h. Flexed skin showed an increase in QD on the surface of skin but no penetration at 8 and 24 h. Tape-stripped skin depicted QD only on the surface of the viable epidermis. QD655 penetrated into the viable dermal layers of abraded skin at both 8 and 24 h, while QD565 was present only at 24 h. QD were not detected in the perfusate by fluorescence and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy analysis for cadmium at any time point. These results indicate that the rat skin penetration of QD655 and QD565 is primarily limited to the uppermost stratum corneum layers of intact skin. Barrier perturbation by tape stripping did not cause penetration, but abrasion allowed QD to penetrate deeper into the dermal layers.

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