Nasal oxytocin for the treatment of psychiatric disorders and pain: achieving meaningful brain concentrations
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There is evidence of the therapeutic potential of intranasal oxytocin for the treatment of pain and various psychiatric disorders, however, there is scant evidence that oxytocin reaches the brain. We quantified the concentration and distribution pattern of [(125)I]-radiolabeled oxytocin in the brains and peripheral tissues of rats after intranasal delivery using gamma counting and autoradiography, respectively. Radiolabel was detected in high concentrations in the trigeminal and olfactory nerves as well as in brain regions along their trajectories. Considerable concentrations were observed in the blood, however, relatively low levels of radiolabel were measured in peripheral tissues. The addition of a mucoadhesive did not enhance brain concentrations. These results provide support for intranasal OT reaching the brain via the olfactory and trigeminal neural pathways. These findings will inform the design and interpretation of clinical studies with intranasal oxytocin.
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