A peptide nasal spray can rapidly tamp down the excessive electrical activity that causes seizures and protects brain cells in animal models of Alzheimer’s, researchers report. The A1R-CT peptide they developed inhibits a protein called neurabin, which helps ensure that the natural mechanism that prevents seizures and protects neurons in the brain doesn’t overdo it.

Peptides make lousy drugs because they bounce off the blood-brain barrier when taken as a pill or infusion, and those that reach the brain have hormone-like side effects elsewhere in the body. But nasal sprays can deliver them directly to the brain, and a new study published tomorrow in Nature Neuroscience demonstrates how this works.

The authors used a nasal spray to deliver the A1R-CT peptide to cultured human nose cells that line the olfactory nerve. The peptide quickly diffused through the olfactory nerve into the brain’s subarachnoid space. The speed and distance to the brain correlated with the peptide’s lipophilic and ionic properties, suggesting that these factors influence the ability of intranasal delivery systems to penetrate into the brain.

The researchers hope to rapidly advance the preventative peptide into human trials and deploy it during the current pandemic. It will be an important complement to vaccines and other measures, and it will help people who cannot get a vaccine or don’t develop immunity, Moscona and Porotto say. They’re also working on a formulation that can deliver other peptides into the respiratory tract, for use in households, schools and health care settings.buy peptides

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