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

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.

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