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This review aims to evaluate the evidence for the existence of a direct nose-to-brain
delivery route for nanoparticles administered to the nasal cavity and transported
via the olfactory epithelium and/or via the trigeminal nerves directly to the CNS.
This is relevant in the field of drug delivery as well as for new developments in
nanotechnology. Experiments in animal models have shown that nano-sized drug delivery
systems can enhance nose-to-brain delivery of drugs compared to equivalent drug solutions
formulations. Protection of the drug from degradation and/or efflux back into the
nasal cavity may partly be the reason for this effect of nanoparticles. It is uncertain,
however, whether drug from the nanoparticles is being released in the nasal cavity
or the nanoparticles carrying the drug are transported via the olfactory system or
the trigeminal nerves into the CNS where the drug is released. Furthermore, toxicity
of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems in the nasal cavity and/or in the CNS has
not been extensively studied and needs to be considered carefully.