Novel methods for intranasal administration under inhalation anesthesia to evaluate nose-to-brain drug delivery

Takanori Kanazawa, Mitsuyoshi Fukuda, Naoto Suzuki, Toyofumi Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Intranasal administration has been reported to be a potential pathway for nose-to-brain delivery of therapeutic agents that circumvents the blood-brain barrier. However, there have been few reports regarding not only the quantitative analysis but also optimal administration conditions and dosing regimens for investigations of nose-to-brain delivery. The limited progress in research on nose-to-brain pathway mechanisms using rodents represents a significant impediment in terms of designing nose-to-brain delivery systems for candidate drugs. To gain some headway in this regard, we developed and evaluated two novel methods of stable intranasal administration under inhalation anesthesia for experimental animals. We also describe a method for the evaluation of drug distribution levels in the brain via the nose-to-brain pathway using radio-labeled [ 14 C]-inulin (molecular weight: 5,000) as a model substrate of water-soluble macromolecules. Initially, we developed a pipette-based intranasal administration protocol using temporarily openable masks, which enabled us to perform reliable administration to animals under stable anesthesia. Using this system, [ 14 C]-inulin could be delivered to the brain with little experimental error. We subsequently developed an intranasal administration protocol entailing reverse cannulation from the airway side through the esophagus, which was developed to minimize the effects of mucociliary clearance (MC). This technique led to significantly higher levels of [ 14 C]-inulin, which was quantitatively detected in the olfactory bulb, cerebrum, and medulla oblongata, than the pipette method. This appears to be because retention of the drug solution in the nasal cavity was substantially increased by active administration using a syringe pump in a direction opposite to the MC into the nasal cavity. In conclusion, the two methods of intranasal administration developed in this study can be expected to be extremely useful techniques for evaluating pharmacokinetics in rodents. The reverse cannulation method, in particular, could be useful for evaluating the full potential of nose-to-brain delivery of drug candidates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58485
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number141
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Brain distribution
  • Hydrophilic macromolecule
  • Inhalation anesthesia
  • Intranasal administration
  • Issue 141
  • Medicine
  • Nose-to-brain
  • Quantitative evaluation


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