Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease (AD) revamped the role of a preventive therapeutic action of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; flurbiprofen could delay AD onset, provided its access to brain is enhanced and systemic exposure limited. Nasal administration could enable direct drug access to central nervous system (CNS) via nose-to-brain transport. Here, we investigated the insufflation, deposition, dissolution, transmucosal permeation, and in vivo transport to rat brain of flurbiprofen from nasal powders combined in an active device. Flurbiprofen sodium spray-dried microparticles as such, or soft pellets obtained by agglomeration of drug microparticles with excipients, were intranasally administered to rats by the pre-metered insufflator device. Blood and brain were collected to measure flurbiprofen levels. Excipient presence in soft pellets lowered the metered drug dose to insufflate. Nevertheless, efficiency of powder delivery by the device, measured as emitted fraction, was superior with soft pellets than microparticles, due to their coarse size. Both nasal powders resulted into rapid flurbiprofen absorption. Absolute bioavailability was 33% and 58% for microparticles and pellets, respectively. Compared to intravenous flurbiprofen, the microparticles were more efficient than soft pellets at enhancing direct drug transport to CNS. Direct Transport Percentage index evidenced that more than 60% of the intranasal dose reached the brain via direct nose-to-brain transport for both powders. Moreover, remarkable drug concentrations were measured in the olfactory bulb after microparticle delivery. Bulb connection with the entorhinal cortex, from where AD initiates, makes flurbiprofen sodium administration as nasal powder worth of further investigation in an animal model of neuroinflammation.
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