Rat liver phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) activity was followed over a time period of 5 h following administration of biotin to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. In parallel with the decrease in enzyme activity liver PEPCK mRNA decreased by 85% at 3 h after injection of biotin to diabetic rats. There was no significant change in the accumulation of kidney PEPCK mRNA. Parallel studies with insulin indicated that biotin had a regulatory effect similar to that of insulin on liver PEPCK mRNA. The administration of biotin did not change the insulin status of the diabetic rat indicating that biotin did not act via insulin. The transcriptional activity of the hepatic PEPCK gene, as measured by nuclear run-on assay, was decreased by 57% within 30 min of biotin administration. The results suggest that biotin regulates hepatic, but not renal, PEPCK mRNA concentration at the transcriptional level in diabetic rats.