Transport Mechanisms in Iontophoresis. I. A Theoretical Model for the Effect of Electroosmotic Flow on Flux Enhancement in Transdermal Iontophoresis

Pharm Res. 1990 Feb;7(2):118-26. doi: 10.1023/a:1015816532532.


Bulk fluid flow or volume flow in the direction of counterion flow is a probable mechanism for enhanced flux of uncharged species by iontophoresis. Both the electrical volume force effect, resulting from the interaction of the "ion atmosphere" and the electric field, and an induced osmotic pressure effect produce volume flow in the same direction as counterion flow through the membrane. Since each of these effects is proportional to the membrane charge and the imposed electric field, we classify both as electroosmotic flow. This research develops a detailed theoretical model which allows the effect of volume flow on flux enhancement to be evaluated. A detailed theoretical result for the electroosmotic flow coefficient also results from the analysis. The model assumes that transport occurs in three types of aqueous pores: positively charged, neutral, and negatively charged. For hairless mouse skin (HMS), pore size, charge, and number are evaluated from transference number, volume flow, and electrical resistance data. The flux enhancement ratio is J1/J1D = sigma Ai alpha i/[1-exp(-alpha i)], where i = pore type, and the summation runs over the three pore types. Ai is the area fraction of pore type i effective for transport; J1 and J1D are flux of species 1 with and without the electric field, respectively; and alpha i is given by alpha i = F(-delta phi/RT)[zeta 1 + (-zeta mi)Bari2Cmi(Gi + F)].(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous*
  • Animals
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Iontophoresis*
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Skin Absorption


  • Membranes, Artificial