It is believed that respiratory mucosal immunization triggers more effective immune protection than parenteral immunization against respiratory infection caused by viruses and intracellular bacteria. Such understanding has led to the successful implementation of intranasal immunization in humans with a live cold-adapted flu virus vaccine. Furthermore there has been an interest in developing effective mucosal-deliverable genetic vaccines against other infectious diseases. However, there is a concern that intranasally delivered recombinant viral-based vaccines may disseminate to the CNS via the olfactory tissue. Initial experimental evidence suggests that intranasally delivered recombinant adenoviral gene transfer vector may transport to the olfactory bulb. However, there is a lack of quantitative studies to compare the relative amounts of transgene products in the respiratory tract, lung, olfactory bulb and brain after intranasal mucosal delivery of viral gene transfer vector. To address this issue, we have used fluorescence macroscopic imaging, luciferase quantification and PCR approaches to compare the relative distribution of transgene products or adenoviral gene sequences in the respiratory tract, lung, draining lymph nodes, olfactory bulb, brain and spleen. Intranasal mucosal delivery of replication-defective recombinant adenoviral vector results in gene transfer predominantly in the respiratory system including the lung while it does lead to a moderate level of gene transfer in the olfactory bulb. However, intranasal inoculation of adenoviral vector leads to little or no viral dissemination to the major region of the CNS, the brain. These experimental findings support the efficaciousness of intranasal adenoviral-mediated gene transfer for the purpose of mucosal immunization and suggest that it may not be of significant safety concern.