In the literature, previous descriptions of the role of thiamine (B1 vitamin) focused mostly on its biochemical functions as a coenzyme precursor of some key enzymes of the carbohydrate metabolism. This report reviews recent developments on the metabolic and structural role of thiamine, e.g., the coenzyme and noncoenzyme functions of the vitamin. Taking into account analysis of our experimental data relating to the effects of thiamine deficiency on developing central nervous system (CNS) and data available in literature, we seek to establish a clear difference between the metabolic and structural role of thiamine. Our experimental data indicate that the specific and nonspecific effects express two diametrically diverse functions of thiamine in development: the nonspecific effects show up the metabolic consequences of thiamine deficiency resulting in apoptosis and severe cellular deficit; inversely, the specific effects announced the structural consequences of thiamine deficiency, described as cellular membrane damage, irregular and ectopic cells. The review highlights the existence of noncoenzyme functions of this vitamin through its interactions with biological membranes.