Multiple carboxylase deficiency: clinical and biochemical improvement following neonatal biotin treatment

Pediatrics. 1981 Jul;68(1):113-8.


Multiple carboxylase deficiency is characterized by deficient activities of three biotin-dependent enzymes, propionyl coenzyme A carboxylase, pyruvate carboxylase, and beta-methylcrotonyl coenzyme A carboxylase. A newborn infant was seen with metabolic ketoacidosis, hyperammonemia, organic aciduria, seizures, and coma. Multiple carboxylase deficiency was subsequently confirmed by enzyme activity determinations in his peripheral blood leukocytes and cultured skin fibroblasts. The infant's neurologic and metabolic status improved markedly within a few days of administration of pharmacologic doses of oral biotin. His EEG, which was distinctly abnormal, became normal; his extensive computed tomography scan changes resolved, with the exception of ventricular dilation, over the next two months. After two weeks of biotin treatment the excretion of abnormal organic acid metabolites was reduced and his carboxylase activities increased to the normal range. However, the activities of these enzymes increased only to 30% to 55% of normal in fibroblasts incubated in supplemental biotin. This partial correction of enzyme activity differs from that observed in other individuals with multiple carboxylase deficiency and suggests biochemical heterogeneity in this disorder. Prompt diagnosis and intervention can avert some of the pathologic complications of this biotin-responsive condition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biotin / therapeutic use*
  • Carbon-Carbon Ligases*
  • Carboxy-Lyases / deficiency*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ligases / deficiency*
  • Male
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Decarboxylase
  • Propionates / deficiency
  • Pyruvate Carboxylase Deficiency Disease*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Propionates
  • Biotin
  • Carboxy-Lyases
  • Ligases
  • Carbon-Carbon Ligases
  • methylcrotonoyl-CoA carboxylase
  • Methylmalonyl-CoA Decarboxylase