Trigeminal pathways deliver a low molecular weight drug from the nose to the brain and orofacial structures
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Intranasal delivery has been shown to noninvasively deliver drugs from the nose to the brain in minutes along the olfactory and trigeminal nerve pathways, bypassing the blood-brain barrier. However, no one has investigated whether nasally applied drugs target orofacial structures, despite high concentrations observed in the trigeminal nerve innervating these tissues. Following intranasal administration of lidocaine to rats, trigeminally innervated structures (teeth, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and masseter muscle) were found to have up to 20-fold higher tissue concentrations of lidocaine than the brain and blood as measured by ELISA. This concentration difference could allow intranasally administered therapeutics to treat disorders of orofacial structures (i.e., teeth, TMJ, and masseter muscle) without causing unwanted side effects in the brain and the rest of the body. In this study, an intranasally administered infrared dye reached the brain within 10 minutes. Distribution of dye is consistent with dye entering the trigeminal nerve after intranasal administration through three regions with high drug concentrations in the nasal cavity: the middle concha, the maxillary sinus, and the choana. In humans the trigeminal nerve passes through the maxillary sinus to innervate the maxillary teeth. Delivering lidocaine intranasally may provide an effective anesthetic technique for a noninvasive maxillary nerve block. Intranasal delivery could be used to target vaccinations and treat disorders with fewer side effects such as tooth pain, TMJ disorder, trigeminal neuralgia, headache, and brain diseases.
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