The intercellular tight junction is the rate-limiting barrier in the paracellular pathway for permeation by ions and larger solutes. A variety of widely used electrical and flux approaches are used in the analyses of solute permeation through this pathway; however, each has limitations in practice. It is now clear that solute permeation across tight junctions is dynamically regulated by intracellular events with a common effector mechanism apparently tied to the cytoskeleton. These pathways, which regulate tight junction solute permeability, are targets that produce epithelial barrier dysfunction in a variety of disease states. However, regulation of solute permeation across the junctional barrier may also represent a potential means to improve bioavailability of orally administered bioactive solutes.