Chronic alcohol exposure inhibits biotin uptake by pancreatic acinar cells: possible involvement of epigenetic mechanisms

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014 Nov 1;307(9):G941-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00278.2014. Epub 2014 Sep 11.


Chronic exposure to alcohol affects different physiological aspects of pancreatic acinar cells (PAC), but its effect on the uptake process of biotin is not known. We addressed this issue using mouse-derived pancreatic acinar 266-6 cells chronically exposed to alcohol and wild-type and transgenic mice (carrying the human SLC5A6 5'-promoter) fed alcohol chronically. First we established that biotin uptake by PAC is Na(+) dependent and carrier mediated and involves sodium-dependent multivitamin transporter (SMVT). Chronic exposure of 266-6 cells to alcohol led to a significant inhibition in biotin uptake, expression of SMVT protein, and mRNA as well as in the activity of the SLC5A6 promoter. Similarly, chronic alcohol feeding of wild-type and transgenic mice carrying the SLC5A6 promoter led to a significant inhibition in biotin uptake by PAC, as well as in the expression of SMVT protein and mRNA and the activity of the SLC5A6 promoters expressed in the transgenic mice. We also found that chronic alcohol feeding of mice is associated with a significant increase in the methylation status of CpG islands predicted to be in the mouse Slc5a6 promoters and a decrease in the level of expression of transcription factor KLF-4, which plays an important role in regulating SLC5A6 promoter activity. These results demonstrate, for the first time, that chronic alcohol exposure negatively impacts biotin uptake in PAC and that this effect is exerted (at least in part) at the level of transcription of the SLC5A6 gene and may involve epigenetic/molecular mechanisms.

Keywords: alcohol; biotin; pancreatic acinar cells; transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acinar Cells / drug effects
  • Acinar Cells / metabolism*
  • Alcoholism / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Biotin / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / drug effects*
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sodium / pharmacology
  • Symporters / genetics
  • Symporters / metabolism*


  • KLF4 protein, human
  • Klf4 protein, mouse
  • Kruppel-Like Factor 4
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Symporters
  • biotin transporter
  • Ethanol
  • Biotin
  • Sodium