Progress in drug delivery to the central nervous system by the prodrug approach.

Molecules : a Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry
Barbara PavanSilvia Vertuani


This review describes specific strategies for targeting to the central nervous system (CNS). Systemically administered drugs can reach the brain by crossing one of two physiological barriers resistant to free diffusion of most molecules from blood to CNS: the endothelial blood-brain barrier or the epithelial blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier. These tissues constitute both transport and enzymatic barriers. The most common strategy for designing effective prodrugs relies on the increase of parent drug lipophilicity. However, increasing lipophilicity without a concomitant increase in rate and selectivity of prodrug bioconversion in the brain will result in failure. In these regards, consideration of the enzymes present in brain tissue and in the barriers is essential for a successful approach. Nasal administration of lipophilic prodrugs can be a promising alternative non-invasive route to improve brain targeting of the parent drugs due to fast absorption and rapid onset of drug action. The carrier-mediated absorption of drugs and prodrugs across epithelial and endothelial barriers is emerging as another novel trend in biotherapeutics. Several specific transporters have been identified in boundary tissues between blood and CNS comp...Continue Reading


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