Thyrotropin releasing hormone [L-proglutamyl-L-histidyl-L-proline amide (TRH)], a tripeptide with molecular weight of 362 and a pKa of 6.2, was used as a model peptide for in vitro passive and iontophoretic diffusion cell studies using excised dorsal nude mouse skin. The results indicate that both the charged and uncharged TRH fluxes across the excised tissue were greater than those obtained by passive diffusion alone. The steady-state flux of both the uncharged and charged TRH was directly proportional to the applied current density, with flux being greater for the uncharged TRH. Additional studies on the transport of methylene blue indicate that transport may be occurring through pores, and that positive ions are preferentially passed through the skin. These results imply that the steady-state flux of TRH is primarily due to a direct, electrically induced ion motion and convection. A practical implication of these results is that it may be possible to enhance and control the transdermal delivery of peptides.