Biotinidase deficiency: initial clinical features and rapid diagnosis

Ann Neurol. 1985 Nov;18(5):614-7. doi: 10.1002/ana.410180517.


Biotinidase deficiency is the primary defect in most individuals with late-onset multiple carboxylase deficiency. We have reviewed the presenting clinical features of 31 children with the disorder. Seizures, either alone or with other neurological or cutaneous findings, are the most frequent initial symptom observed. Other neurological symptoms, such as hypotonia, ataxia, hearing loss, optic atrophy, and developmental delay, are seen, in addition to skin rash and alopecia. The disorder is also characterized by ketolactic acidosis and organic aciduria. Biotinidase activity may be diagnosed using a simple, rapid, semiquantitative colorimetric procedure. Samples of whole blood spotted on the same filter paper used by most states to screen for phenylketonuria and other inborn errors of metabolism may be sent to an appropriate reference laboratory. None of the common anticonvulsants or sedatives used to treat newborns and children interfere with the test. Because biotinidase deficiency can be treated readily with biotin, this disorder should be considered in children with infantile seizures, especially in the presence of other characteristic neurological or cutaneous features.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / enzymology
  • Amidohydrolases / blood
  • Amidohydrolases / deficiency*
  • Biotin / therapeutic use
  • Biotinidase
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / enzymology
  • Lactates / blood
  • Mass Screening
  • Seizures / enzymology


  • Lactates
  • Biotin
  • Amidohydrolases
  • Biotinidase