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J Nutr. 2012 Jan;142(1):22-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.151621. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Marginal biotin deficiency can be induced experimentally in humans using a cost-effective outpatient design.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA.


To date, marginal, asymptomatic biotin deficiency has been successfully induced experimentally by the use of labor-intensive inpatient designs requiring rigorous dietary control. We sought to determine if marginal biotin deficiency could be induced in humans in a less expensive outpatient design incorporating a self-selected, mixed general diet. We sought to examine the efficacy of three outpatient study designs: two based on oral avidin dosing and one based on a diet high in undenatured egg white for a period of 28 d. In study design 1, participants (n = 4; 3 women) received avidin in capsules with a biotin binding capacity of 7 times the estimated dietary biotin intake of a typical self-selected diet. In study design 2, participants (n = 2; 2 women) received double the amount of avidin capsules (14 times the estimated dietary biotin intake). In study design 3, participants (n = 5; 3 women) consumed egg-white beverages containing avidin with a biotin binding capacity of 7 times the estimated dietary biotin intake. Established indices of biotin status [lymphocyte propionyl-CoA carboxylase activity; urinary excretion of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid, 3-hydroxyisovaleryl carnitine (3HIA-carnitine), and biotin; and plasma concentration of 3HIA-carnitine] indicated that study designs 1 and 2 were not effective in inducing marginal biotin deficiency, but study design 3 was as effective as previous inpatient study designs that induced deficiency by egg-white beverage. Marginal biotin deficiency can be induced experimentally by using a cost-effective outpatient design by avidin delivery in egg-white beverages. This design should be useful to the broader nutritional research community.

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