The possibility to treat central nervous system (CNS) disorders is strongly limited by the poor access of many therapeutic agent to the target tissues. This is mainly due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), formed by a complex interplay of endothelial cells, astrocyte and pericytes, through which only selected molecules can passively diffuse to reach CNS. Drug pharmacokinetics and biodistribution can be changed by using nanotechnology, in order to improve drug accumulation into the action site and to limit the drug release in the healthy tissues. When the CNS diseases are characterised by BBB altered permeability, an enhanced drug delivery into the brain can be achieved by using nanocarriers. Moreover, modification of nanocarrier surface with specific endogenous or exogenous ligands can promote enhanced BBB crossing, also in case of unaltered endothelium. This review summarizes the most meaningful advances in the field of nanotechnology for brain delivery of therapeutics.
Keywords: Brain delivery, drug delivery, drug targeting, liposomes, nanoparticles, pericytes, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), Kir4.1, glioma, vasogenic edemas
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