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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy.

BACKGROUND: Biotin deficiency is teratogenic in several mammalian species. Approximately 50% of pregnant women have an abnormally increased urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid (3-HIA), which probably reflects decreased activity of the biotin-dependent enzyme methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase. However, increased 3-HIA excretion could result from pregnancy per se (eg, from an effect of pregnancy on renal handling of organic acids). OBJECTIVE: We tested the hypothesis that biotin supplementation significantly decreases 3-HIA excretion in pregnant women with abnormally increased 3-HIA excretion. DESIGN: Twenty-six pregnant women with increased 3-HIA excretion were studied in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial; 10 women were studied during early pregnancy (6-17 wk gestation) and 16 women during late pregnancy (21-37 wk gestation). Urine samples were collected before and after 14 d of supplementation with 300 microg (1.2 micromol) biotin/d or placebo. RESULTS: In the early-pregnancy group, 3-HIA excretion decreased (P < 0.006) by 11.7 +/- 3.6 mmol/ mol creatinine (mean +/- SEM) in the 5 women who received biotin supplements, whereas 3-HIA excretion increased by 1.6 +/- 0.6 mmol/ mol creatinine in the 5 women who received placebo. In the late-pregnancy group, 3-HIA excretion decreased (P < 0.002) by 7.1 +/- 1.2 mmol/ mol creatinine in the 8 women who received biotin supplements, whereas 3-HIA excretion increased by 0.9 +/- 1.8 mmol/ mol creatinine in the 8 women who received placebo. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that the increased excretion of 3-HIA seen frequently in normal pregnancy reflects reduced biotin status. The conclusion that marginal biotin deficiency occurs frequently in the first trimester further raises concern about potential human teratogenicity.[1]


  1. Marginal biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy. Mock, D.M., Quirk, J.G., Mock, N.I. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (2002) [Pubmed]
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