Expert Review

Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 2475-2484

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Intranasal Treatment of Central Nervous System Dysfunction in Humans

  • Colin D. ChapmanAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, Uppsala University Email author 
  • , William H. FreyIIAffiliated withAlzheimer’s Research Center at Regions Hospital HealthPartners Research Foundation
  • , Suzanne CraftAffiliated withJ. Paul Sticht Center on Aging Dept. of Internal Medicine Section on Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine Wake Forest University School of Medicine
  • , Lusine DanielyanAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital of Tübingen
  • , Manfred HallschmidAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen
  • , Helgi B. SchiöthAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, Uppsala University
  • , Christian BenedictAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, Uppsala University


One of the most challenging problems facing modern medicine is how to deliver a given drug to a specific target at the exclusion of other regions. For example, a variety of compounds have beneficial effects within the central nervous system (CNS), but unwanted side effects in the periphery. For such compounds, traditional oral or intravenous drug delivery fails to provide benefit without cost. However, intranasal delivery is emerging as a noninvasive option for delivering drugs to the CNS with minimal peripheral exposure. Additionally, this method facilitates the delivery of large and/or charged therapeutics, which fail to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Thus, for a variety of growth factors, hormones, neuropeptides and therapeutics including insulin, oxytocin, orexin, and even stem cells, intranasal delivery is emerging as an efficient method of administration, and represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diseases with CNS involvement, such as obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, seizures, drug addiction, eating disorders, and stroke.


central nervous system insulin intranasal administration oxytocin stem cells