Targeting the brain through the nose. Effects of intranasally administered insulin

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Bruenner YF, Benedict C, Freiherr J
Journal: Der Nervenarzt
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication year: 2013
Volume: 84
Journal issue: 8
Pages range: 949-954
ISSN: 0028-2804


The assumption that the human brain is an insulin-independent organ was disproved with the discovery of insulin receptors in the central nervous system in the year 1978. Evidence has been provided for a high density of insulin receptors in brain regions responsible for cognitive memory processes (hippocampus) and for the regulation of appetite (hypothalamus). Accordingly, in animal studies an increased insulin level in the central nervous system leads to an improvement of hippocampal memory function and a decrease of food intake. Similar results were obtained in humans using the method of intranasal administration of insulin. Intranasal insulin reaches the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid via the olfactory epithelium and olfactory nerve fiber bundles leading through the lamina cribrosa to the olfactory bulb. Thus, this method renders the investigation of specific insulin effects in humans possible. The therapeutic potential of an intranasal insulin administration for the treatment of diseases for which an imbalance of the central nervous insulin metabolism is discussed (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, diabetes mellitus and obesity) can only be estimated with the help of further clinical studies.

External institutions with authors

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen
Uppsala University

How to cite

Bruenner, Y.F., Benedict, C., & Freiherr, J. (2013). Targeting the brain through the nose. Effects of intranasally administered insulin. Der Nervenarzt, 84(8), 949-954.

Bruenner, Y. F., Christian Benedict, and Jessica Freiherr. "Targeting the brain through the nose. Effects of intranasally administered insulin." Der Nervenarzt 84.8 (2013): 949-954.


Last updated on 2019-12-08 at 12:23