Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as a prosthetic group of carboxylases. Besides its role as carboxylase prosthetic group, biotin regulates gene expression and has a wide repertoire of effects on systemic processes. The vitamin regulates genes that are critical in the regulation of intermediary metabolism. Several studies have reported a relationship between biotin and blood lipids. In the present work we investigated the effect of biotin administration on the concentration of plasma lipids, as well as glucose and insulin in type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. Eighteen diabetic and 15 nondiabetic subjects aged 30-65 were randomized into two groups and received either 61.4 micromol/day of biotin or placebo for 28 days. Plasma samples obtained at baseline and after treatment were analyzed for total triglyceride, cholesterol, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), glucose and insulin. We found that the vitamin significantly reduced (P=0.005) plasma triacylglycerol and VLDL concentrations. Biotin produced the following changes (mean of absolute differences between 0 and 28 day treatment+/-S.E.M.): a) triacylglycerol -0.55+/-0.2 in the diabetic group and -0.92+/-0.36 in the nondiabetic group; b) VLDL: -0.11+/-0.04 in the diabetic group and -0.18+/-0.07 in the nondiabetic group. Biotin treatment had no significant effects on cholesterol, glucose and insulin in either the diabetic or nondiabetic subjects. We conclude that pharmacological doses of biotin decrease hypertriglyceridemia. The triglyceride-lowering effect of biotin suggests that biotin could be used in the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.