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Advances in Mathematical Physics
Volume 2013, Article ID 479634, 8 pages
Research Article

A Fractional Anomalous Diffusion Model and Numerical Simulation for Sodium Ion Transport in the Intestinal Wall

School of Mathematics, Shandong University, Jinan 250100, China

Received 17 May 2013; Accepted 1 July 2013

Academic Editor: Changpin Li

Copyright © 2013 Bo Yu and Xiaoyun Jiang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The authors present a fractional anomalous diffusion model to describe the uptake of sodium ions across the epithelium of gastrointestinal mucosa and their subsequent diffusion in the underlying blood capillaries using fractional Fick’s law. A heterogeneous two-phase model of the gastrointestinal mucosa is considered, consisting of a continuous extracellular phase and a dispersed cellular phase. The main mode of uptake is considered to be a fractional anomalous diffusion under concentration gradient and potential gradient. Appropriate partial differential equations describing the variation with time of concentrations of sodium ions in both the two phases across the intestinal wall are obtained using Riemann-Liouville space-fractional derivative and are solved by finite difference methods. The concentrations of sodium ions in the interstitial space and in the cells have been studied as a function of time, and the mean concentration of sodium ions available for absorption by the blood capillaries has also been studied. Finally, numerical results are presented graphically for various values of different parameters. This study demonstrates that fractional anomalous diffusion model is appropriate for describing the uptake of sodium ions across the epithelium of gastrointestinal mucosa.