Dietary biotin deficiency affects reproductive function and prenatal development in hamsters

J Nutr. 1993 Dec;123(12):2101-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/123.12.2101.


The effects of maternal dietary biotin deficiency on hamster embryos were examined by adding different amounts of avidin (0, 10, 50, 100 or 1000 mg/kg diet) to a semipurified commercial diet during the entire period of gestation. On d 10 of gestation, reduced dietary biotin resulted in a high incidence of resorbed and dead embryos. In addition, both the crown-rump length and head length of dietary biotin-deficient embryos were lower, and their digit development was retarded. These embryos were characterized by pericardial cavity enlargement (40%) and zig-zag closure line of the neural tube (44%). Some embryos exhibited abnormalities of the craniofacial region and tail. On d 14 of gestation, embryonic growth retardation, morphological abnormalities and skeletal defects were seen in the dietary biotin-deficient group (fed 100 mg avidin/kg diet). The striking abnormalities were cleft palate, micromelia, micrognathia and rib deformities in approximately 10% of the fetuses. Histological examination of the placentae revealed some differences in the spongiotrophoblast and labyrinth layers between the control and dietary biotin-deficient groups. The teratogenic effect of dietary biotin deficiency previously observed in mice was confirmed in hamsters.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avidin / toxicity
  • Biotin / deficiency*
  • Cricetinae
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology
  • Fetal Resorption / etiology
  • Fetus / abnormalities
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Mesocricetus
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction* / drug effects
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Avidin
  • Biotin