Biotin Supplementation Ameliorates Murine Colitis by Preventing NF-κB Activation

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020;9(4):557-567. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2019.11.011. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


Background & aims: Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is indispensable for human health. Biotin deficiency can cause failure-to-thrive, immunodeficiency, alopecia, dermatitis, and conjunctivitis. We previously reported that biotin deficiency also can lead to severe colitis in mice, which is completely reversed with supplementation. Our aim in this study was to determine if high-dose biotin supplementation can provide a therapeutic benefit in a preclinical model for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to identify the molecular mechanism by which this occurs.

Methods: Mice were challenged with dextran sodium sulfate to induce colitis and were treated with 1 mmol/L biotin to induce or maintain remission. Clinical response was monitored by the Disease Activity Index and fecal calprotectin levels. The colon tissue was investigated for histology, length, as well as expression of inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin 1β), intestinal permeability, tight junctions (zonula occludens-1 and claudin-2), and the transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB).

Results: Biotin therapy led to delayed onset and severity of colitis as well as accelerated healing. There was improvement in the Disease Activity Index, fecal calprotectin levels, colon length, and histology. In addition, biotin-treated mice had reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines, reduced intestinal permeability, and reduced activation of NF-κB.

Conclusions: Oral supplementation with biotin provides benefit for maintenance and induction of remission in the dextran sodium sulfate preclinical model for IBD. Biotin does this by reducing the activation of NF-κB, which prevents the production of inflammatory cytokines and helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier. Clinically, the NF-κB pathway is important in the development of IBD and this finding suggests that biotin may have therapeutic potential for patients with IBD.

Keywords: Biotin; Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotin* / pharmacology
  • Biotin* / therapeutic use
  • Colitis* / chemically induced
  • Colitis* / drug therapy
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Regeneration
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • NF-kappa B
  • Biotin
  • Dextran Sulfate