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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 21, 2017

High-dose biotin therapy leading to false biochemical endocrine profiles: validation of a simple method to overcome biotin interference

  • Marie-Liesse Piketty EMAIL logo , Dominique Prie , Frederic Sedel , Delphine Bernard , Claude Hercend , Philippe Chanson and Jean-Claude Souberbielle



High-dose biotin therapy is beneficial in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and is expected to be adopted by a large number of patients. Biotin therapy leads to analytical interference in many immunoassays that utilize streptavidin-biotin capture techniques, yielding skewed results that can mimic various endocrine disorders. We aimed at exploring this interference, to be able to remove biotin and avoid misleading results.


We measured free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), parathyroid homrone (PTH), 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, C-peptide, cortisol (Roche Diagnostics assays), biotin and its main metabolites (liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry) in 23 plasmas from MS patients and healthy volunteers receiving high-dose biotin, and in 39 biotin-unsupplemented patients, before and after a simple procedure (designated N5) designed to remove biotin by means of streptavidin-coated microparticles. We also assayed fT4, TSH and PTH in the 23 high-biotin plasmas using assays not employing streptavidin-biotin binding.


The biotin concentration ranged from 31.7 to 1160 µg/L in the 23 high-biotin plasmas samples. After the N5 protocol, the biotin concentration was below the detection limit in all but two samples (8.3 and 27.6 μg/L). Most hormones results were abnormal, but normalized after N5. All results with the alternative methods were normal except two slight PTH elevations. In the 39 biotin-unsupplemented patients, the N5 protocol did not affect the results for any of the hormones, apart from an 8.4% decrease in PTH.


We confirm that most streptavidin-biotin hormone immunoassays are affected by high biotin concentrations, leading to a risk of misdiagnosis. Our simple neutralization method efficiently suppresses biotin interference.


We are grateful to Marie-Helene Novotny for excellent technical assistance, and to Yohann Hervy (Laboratoire Atlanbio) for measurements of biotin and biotin metabolites concentrations.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: FS and DB are employed by MedDAY Pharmaceuticals.

  4. Honorarium: JCS reports lecture fees and/or travel/hotel expenses from DiaSorin, Roche Diagnostics, Abbott, Amgen, Shire, MSD, Lilly, Rottapharm, Meda.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Supplemental Material:

The online version of this article (DOI: 10.1515/cclm-2016-1183) offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Received: 2016-12-25
Accepted: 2017-1-13
Published Online: 2017-2-21
Published in Print: 2017-6-1

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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