Lipoic acid reduces the activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases in rat liver

Janos Zempleni, Timothy A. Trusty, Donald M. Mock

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In the past, lipoic acid has been administered to patients and test animals as therapy for diabetic neuropathy and various intoxications. Lipoic acid and the vitamin biotin have structural similarities. We sought to determine whether the chronic administration of lipoic acid affects the activities of biotin-dependent carboxylases. For 28 d, rats received daily intraperitoneal injections of one of the following: 1) a small dose of lipoic acid [4.3 μmol/(kg · d)]; 2) a large dose of lipoic acid [15.6 μmol/(kg · d)]; or 3) a large dose of lipoic acid plus biotin [15.6 and 2.0 μmol/(kg · d), respectively]. Another group received n-hexanoic acid [14.5 μmol/(kg · d)], which has structural similarities to lipoic acid and biotin and thus served as a control for the specificity of lipoic acid. A fifth group received phosphatidylcholine in saline injections and served as the vehicle control. The rat livers were assayed for the activities of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, pyruvate carboxylase, propionyl-CoA carboxylase, and β- methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase. Urine was analyzed for lipoic acid; serum was analyzed for indicators of liver damage and metabolic aberrations. The mean activities of pyruvate carboxylase and β-methylcrotonyl-CoA carboxylase were 28-36% lower in the lipoic acid-treated rats compared with vehicle controls (P < 0.05). Rats treated with lipoic acid plus biotin had normal carboxylase activities. Carboxylase activities in livers of n-hexanoic acid-treated rats were normal despite some evidence of liver injury. Prepionyl-CoA carboxylase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase were not significantly affected by administration of lipoic acid. This study provides evidence consistent with the hypothesis that chronic administration of lipoic acid lowers the activities of pyruvate carboxylase and β-methylcrotonylCoA carboxylase in vivo by competing with biotin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1776-1781
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1997



  • Biotin
  • Carboxylases
  • Lipoic acid
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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