Biotin and the sudden infant death syndrome.


Johnson AR, Hood RL, Emery JL






A diet which is marginally deficient in the vitamin biotin may cause sudden unexpected death of young broiler chickens when they are exposed to stress. Chickens affected with this disorder have low levels of biotin in their livers. In conditions of biotin insufficiency, we postulate that a similar disorder, triggered by mild stress, may occur in the human infant. We have now used a radiochemical technique to measure the biotin content of 204 livers obtained from infants at autopsy. The levels of biotin in the livers of infants who had died of sudden infant death syndrom (SIDS; cot death) were significantly lower than those in livers of infants of similar age, who had died of explicable causes. These findings support an association of biotin with SIDS.