cGMP may have trophic effects on beta cell function comparable to those of cAMP, implying a role for high-dose biotin in prevention/treatment of diabetes

Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(2):323-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2004.04.031. Epub 2005 Nov 23.


Incretin hormones have trophic effects on beta cell function that can aid prevention and treatment of diabetes. cAMP is the primary mediator of these effects, and has been shown to potentiate glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, promote proper beta cells differentiation by increasing expression of the crucial transcription factor PDX-1, and prevent beta cell apoptosis. cGMP's role in beta cell function has received far less scrutiny, but there is emerging evidence that it may have a trophic impact on beta cell function analogous to that of cAMP. An increase in plasma glucose boosts beta cell production of cGMP, which acts as a feed-forward mediator to enhance glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. cGMP also has an anti-apoptotic effect in beta cells, and there is now indirect evidence that it promotes expression of PDX-1. Supraphysiological concentrations of biotin can directly activate guanylate cyclase, and there is limited evidence that high intakes of this vitamin can be therapeutically beneficial in diabetics and in rodent models of diabetes. Beneficial effects of cGMP on muscle insulin sensitivity and on control of hepatic glucose output may contribute to biotin's utility in diabetes. The fact that nitric oxide/cGMP exert a range of favorable effects on vascular health should further encourage exploration of biotin's preventive and therapeutic potential. If an appropriate high-dose biotin regimen could achieve a modest systemic increase in guanylate cyclase activity, without entailing unacceptable side effects or risks, such a regimen might have considerable potential for promoting vascular health and preventing or managing diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotin / administration & dosage
  • Biotin / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Cyclic GMP / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / prevention & control*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology*


  • Biotin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic GMP