Indicators of biotin status: a study of patients on prolonged total parenteral nutrition

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1990 Jan;44(1):11-6.


Plasma biotin concentration and lymphocyte propionyl CoA carboxylase (PCC) and its activation index (the ratio of enzyme activity in cells incubated with biotin to activity in cells incubated without the vitamin) were compared as markers of biotin status in patients on biotin-free prolonged total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Five patients had been on biotin-free TPN for over 1 month when the study was started, and had already developed clinical signs that may be caused by this vitamin deficiency. They had markedly reduced levels of both biotin and carboxylase levels, which increased to near normal levels 4 months after biotin was added to the TPN. They initially presented subnormal plasma zinc concentrations which were normal at the end of the study. Another 4 patients also received biotin-free TPN. After 1 month propionyl CoA carboxylase, which was already below normal in 3 of them at admission, further decreased and became undetectable in 1 of them, who presented clinical deficiency manifestations. The enzyme activation index increased more than twice, although plasma biotin remained normal. When the vitamin was added to the TPN solution, PCC activity increased and its activation index decreased to normal. Plasma zinc concentrations remained normal throughout in this other group of patients indicating that changes of biotin markers are not likely to be related to zinc status variation. Plasma biotinidase, a key enzyme in biotin endogenous recycling, was already subnormal at admission and had become normal at the end of the study, but was not associated with the biotin status.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biotin / administration & dosage
  • Biotin / blood*
  • Biotin / deficiency
  • Carboxy-Lyases / blood*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Decarboxylase
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / adverse effects*


  • Biotin
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Decarboxylase