Polymeric nanocarriers for nose-to-brain drug delivery in neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders

Rania Awad, Avi Avital, Alejandro Sosnik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neurodegenerative diseases are progressive conditions that affect the neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) and result in their damage and death. Neurodevelopmental disorders include intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and stem from the disruption of essential neurodevelopmental processes. The treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions, together affecting ∼120 million people worldwide, is challenged by the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier that prevent the crossing of drugs from the systemic circulation into the CNS. The nose-to-brain pathway that bypasses the BBB and increases the brain bioavailability of intranasally administered drugs is promising to improve the treatment of CNS conditions. This pathway is more efficient for nanoparticles than for solutions, hence, the research on intranasal nano-drug delivery systems has grown exponentially over the last decade. Polymeric nanoparticles have become key players in the field owing to the high design and synthetic flexibility. This review describes the challenges faced for the treatment of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions, the molecular and cellular features of the nasal mucosa and the contribution of intranasal nano-drug delivery to overcome them. Then, a comprehensive overview of polymeric nanocarriers investigated to increase drug bioavailability in the brain is introduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1866-1886
Number of pages21
JournalActa Pharmaceutica Sinica B
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Chinese Pharmaceutical Association and Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences


  • Blood–brain barrier
  • Central nervous system
  • Dendrimers
  • Intranasal administration
  • Nano-drug delivery systems
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Nose-to-brain pathway
  • Polymeric micelles
  • Polymeric nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)


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