Neuroprotective potential of high-dose biotin

Med Hypotheses. 2017 Nov:109:145-149. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2017.10.012. Epub 2017 Oct 16.


A recent controlled trial has established that high-dose biotin supplementation - 100 mg, three times daily - has a stabilizing effect on progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Although this effect has been attributed to an optimization of biotin's essential cofactor role in the brain, a case can be made that direct stimulation of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) by pharmacological concentrations of biotin plays a key role in this regard. The utility of high-dose biotin in MS might reflect an anti-inflammatory effect of cGMP on the cerebral microvasculature, as well on oligodendrocyte differentiation and on Schwann cell production of neurotrophic factors thought to have potential for managing MS. But biotin's ability to boost cGMP synthesis in the brain may have broader neuroprotective potential. In many types of neurons and neural cells, cGMP exerts neurotrophic-mimetic effects - entailing activation of the PI3K-Akt and Ras-ERK pathways - that promote neuron survival and plasticity. Hippocampal long term potentiation requires nitric oxide synthesis, which in turn promotes an activating phosphorylation of CREB via a pathway involving cGMP and protein kinase G (PKG). In Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyloid beta suppresses this mechanism by inhibiting sGC activity; agents which exert a countervailing effect by boosting cGMP levels tend to restore effective long-term potentiation in rodent models of AD. Moreover, NO/cGMP suppresses amyloid beta production within the brain by inhibiting expression of amyloid precursor protein and BACE1. In conjunction with cGMP's ability to oppose neuron apoptosis, these effects suggest that high-dose biotin might have potential for the prevention and management of AD. cGMP also promotes neurogenesis, and may lessen stroke risk by impeding atherogenesis and hypertrophic remodeling in the cerebral vasculature. The neuroprotective potential of high-dose biotin likely could be boosted by concurrent administration of brain-permeable phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.

Keywords: Alzheimers disease; Beta-amyloid; Biotin; Cgmp; Multiple sclerosis; Neurotrophic factors; Phosphodiesterase-5; Protein kinase G; Schwann cells; Soluble guanylate cyclase.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Biotin / pharmacology*
  • Brain
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 5 / metabolism
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Microcirculation
  • Multiple Sclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Biotin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 5
  • Cyclic GMP