The neuropeptide oxytocin plays an evolutionarily conserved role in mammalian social behavior. Despite striking effects on animal social behavior after intracerebroventricular drug delivery, this delivery mode is impractical in humans. Intranasal oxytocin delivery provides a noninvasive alternative to increase central oxytocin activity, and has shown promise as a treatment for psychiatric illnesses. Intranasal oxytocin delivery is purported to increase central oxytocin concentrations via channels surrounding trigeminal and olfactory nerve fibers, which may facilitate increased activity at central oxytocin receptors. This report outlines the evidence for intranasal oxytocin delivery increasing central concentrations or activity, identifies current knowledge gaps and highlights future research opportunities. Recent efforts to enhance intranasal oxytocin delivery via improved intranasal delivery technology and dose-ranging studies are discussed.
Quintana, D.S., Smerud, K. T., Andreassen, O. A., & Djupesland, P. G. (2018). Evidence for intranasal oxytocin delivery to the brain: recent advances and future perspectives. Therapeutic Delivery, 9(7), 515-525, https://doi.org/10.4155/tde-2018-0002