Antibody delivery to the CNS remains a huge hurdle for the clinical application of antibodies targeting a CNS antigen. The blood–brain barrier and blood–CSF barrier restrict access of therapeutic antibodies to their CNS targets in a major way. The very high amounts of therapeutic antibodies that are administered systemically in recent clinical trials to reach CNS targets are barely viable cost-wise for broad, routine applications. Though global CNS delivery of antibodies can be achieved by intrathecal application, these procedures are invasive. A non-invasive method to bring antibodies into the CNS reliably and reproducibly remains an important unmet need in neurology.
In the present study, we show that intranasal application of a mouse monoclonal antibody against the neurite growth-inhibiting and plasticity-restricting membrane protein Nogo-A leads to a rapid transfer of significant amounts of antibody to the brain and spinal cord in intact adult rats. Daily intranasal application for 2 wk of anti-Nogo-A antibody enhanced growth and compensatory sprouting of corticofugal projections and functional recovery in rats after large unilateral cortical strokes. These findings are a starting point for clinical translation for a less invasive route of application of therapeutic antibodies to CNS targets for many neurological indications.