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Semin Dermatol. 1991 Dec;10(4):296-302.

Skin manifestations of biotin deficiency.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City 52242.


This article reviews current knowledge concerning the dermatologic manifestations of biotin deficiency. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an essential cofactor for four carboxylases, each of which catalyzes an essential step in intermediary metabolism. For example, acetyl-CoA carboxylase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in fatty acid elongation. In infants, children, and adults, deficiency of biotin causes alopecia and a characteristic scaly, erythematous dermatitis distributed around body orifices. The rash closely resembles that of zinc deficiency. Candida albicans often can be cultured from the skin lesions. Biotinidase deficiency, an inborn error, causes biotin deficiency, probably as a consequence of unpaired intestinal absorption, cellular salvage, and renal reclamation of biotin; biotinidase deficiency causes dermatologic manifestations similar to biotin deficiency. There is evidence that impaired fatty acid metabolism secondary to reduced activities of the biotin-dependent carboxylases (especially acetyl-CoA carboxylase) plays an etiologic role in the dermatologic manifestations of biotin deficiency. Candida infections secondary to impaired immune function might also contribute to the dermatitis of biotin deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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