Biotin (vitamin H) plays an important role as a cofactor in glucose or lipid metabolism. We showed that biotin potentiated glucose-induced insulin release in isolated rat islets, while biotin alone did not affect insulin release. Coculture with biotin in islets for 48 hours significantly enhanced glucose-induced insulin release or islet insulin content. Similarly, preproinsulin or pancreatic/duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1) mRNA was also enhanced in islets cultured with biotin for 48 hours. Furthermore, we measured effects of biotin on beta-cell function under glucotoxic or lipotoxic states. In islets cultured with high glucose or palmitate for 48 hours, glucose-induced insulin release or islet insulin content deteriorated. Coculture with biotin significantly restored glucose-induced insulin release or islet insulin content together with the restoration of preproinsulin or PDX-1 mRNA. We conclude that biotin exerts its beneficial effects on beta-cell dysfunction induced by glucose or free fatty acids probably through the enhancement of insulin biosynthesis.