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This study was conducted to clarify the penetration properties of 4-[1-hydroxy-1-methylethyl]-2-propyl-1-[4-[2-[tetrazole-5-yl]phenyl]phenyl]methylimidazole-5-carboxylic acid monohydrate (CS-088), an ophthalmic agent, and the mechanism of the permeability-enhancing effect of EDTA and boric acid (EDTA/boric acid) on the corneal penetration of CS-088. In the absence of additives, corneal permeability decreased with increasing concentration of CS-088 as CS-088 monomers self-associate to form dimers. Presence of EDTA/boric acid caused no significant changes in the physicochemical properties of CS-088, the apparent partition coefficient or the mean particle size of CS-088. EDTA/boric acid induced only a slight change in the zeta potential of liposomes used as a model of the biological membrane.On the other hand, EDTA/boric acid significantly increased membrane fluidity of liposomes, whereas other buffering agents tested did not. This effect was synergistic and concentration-dependent for both EDTA and boric acid as was observed in in vitro corneal penetration of CS-088. In accordance with the result, the rate of CS-088 permeation into the liposomes significantly increased by the addition of EDTA/boric acid. Therefore, it was demonstrated that EDTA/boric acid promotes corneal penetration of CS-088 through the transcellular pathway by increasing membrane fluidity. Conversely, other buffering agents decreased corneal permeability of CS-088 by inducing further self-association of CS-088 aggregates.