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Int Rev Neurobiol. 2016;130:73-113. doi: 10.1016/bs.irn.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Jul 20.

Application of Nanomedicine to the CNS Diseases.

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Advanced Drug Delivery and Biomaterials, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium.
Yale University, New Haven, CT, United States.
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Université Paris Descartes, Université Paris-Sorbonne, UTCBS, UMR CNRS 8258, UE1022 INSERM, Paris, France. Electronic address:


Drug delivery to the brain is a challenge because of the many mechanisms that protect the brain from the entry of foreign substances. Numerous molecules which could be active against brain disorders are not clinically useful due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier. Nanoparticles can be used to deliver these drugs to the brain. Encapsulation within colloidal systems can allow the passage of nontransportable drugs across this barrier by masking their physicochemical properties. It should be noted that the status of the blood-brain barrier is different depending on the brain disease. In fact, in some pathological situations such as tumors or inflammatory disorders, its permeability is increased allowing very easy translocation of carriers. This chapter gathers the promising results obtained by using nanoparticles as drug delivery systems with the aim to improve the therapy of some CNS diseases such as brain tumor, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke. The data show that several approaches can be investigated: (1) carrying drug through a permeabilized barrier, (2) crossing the barrier thanks to receptor-mediated transcytosis pathway in order to deliver drug into the brain parenchyma, and also (3) targeting and treating the endothelial cells themselves to preserve locally the brain tissue. The examples given in this chapter contribute to demonstrate that delivering drugs into the brain is one of the most promising applications of nanotechnology in clinical neuroscience.


Alzheimer's disease; Blood–brain barrier; Brain tumor; Drug delivery; Nanoparticles; Stroke

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