The effect of biotin administration on the glucose tolerance of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic Wistar rats was investigated. STZ-induced diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (45 mg/kg body weight as a single dose). The impaired glucose tolerance in response to an oral glucose load (1.8g per kg body weight) in STZ-induced diabetic rats (STZ-rat) was partially improved by intraperitoneal administration of biotin for 15 days (100 micrograms/rat/day). However, a recovery in the STZ-rat's insulin secretion was not found after biotin administration. To help clarify the mechanism underlying the improvement in glucose tolerance seen with biotin treatment, glucokinase and hexokinase activities were determined in the liver and pancreas. In STZ-rats that had received biotin (STZ-biotin rats), glucokinase activity was higher by 3.4-fold in liver and by 2.4-fold in pancreas than in the STZ-rats. The biotin level of STZ-rats was significantly lower in the liver and pancreas than that of the control rats (no STZ administration); but in STZ-biotin rats, the level in these organs recovered to the control level. These results demonstrate that injected biotin can improve glucose handling without increasing insulin secretion in STZ-rats.