Inhibition of intestinal biotin absorption by chronic alcohol feeding: Cellular and molecular mechanisms

Sandeep B. Subramanya, Veedamali S. Subramanian, Jeyan S. Kumar, Robert Hoiness, Hamid M. Said

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The water-soluble vitamin biotin is essential for normal cellular functions and its deficiency leads to a variety of clinical abnormalities. Mammals obtain biotin from exogenous sources via intestinal absorption, a process mediated by the sodium-dependent multivitamin transporter (SMVT). Chronic alcohol use in humans is associated with a significant reduction in plasma biotin levels, and animal studies have shown inhibition in intestinal biotin absorption by chronic alcohol feeding. Little, however, is known about the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the inhibition in intestinal biotin transport by chronic alcohol use. These mechanisms were investigated in this study by using rats and transgenic mice carrying the human full-length SLC5A6 5'-regulatory region chronically fed alcohol liquid diets; human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells chronically exposed to alcohol were also used as models. The results showed chronic alcohol feeding of rats to lead to a significant inhibition in carrier-mediated biotin transport events across jejunal brush border and basolateral membrane domains. This inhibition was associated with a significant reduction in level of expression of the SMVT protein, mRNA, and heterogenous nuclear RNA. Chronic alcohol feeding also inhibited carrier-mediated biotin uptake in rat colon. Studies with transgenic mice confirmed the above findings and further showed chronic alcohol feeding significantly inhibited the activity of SLC5A6 5'-regulatory region. Finally, chronic exposure of Caco-2 cells to alcohol led to a significant decrease in the activity of both promoters P1 and P2 of the human SLC5A6 gene. These studies identify for the first time the cellular and molecular parameters of the intestinal biotin absorptive processes that are affected by chronic alcohol feeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Promoter
  • SMVT
  • Transporter
  • Uptake
  • Vitamin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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