Microbiome dynamics of human epidermis following skin barrier disruption

Zeeuwen, Patrick

In a recent paper inGenome Biology, Patrick Zeeuwen (dept of Dermatology, UMCN) and collaborators from NIZO Food Research and CMBI have used next-gen sequencing to analyze microbial communities on human skin. This new branch of 'omics'-technologies, named 'metagenomics', allows identification of virtually all bacteria present on skin and does not rely on culturing. Several previous studies have catalogued the composition of bacterial communities of the surface of human skin, mostly under static conditions in healthy volunteers. Here the authors used a model for skin injury to disturb the cutaneous homeostasis of the host tissue and its commensal microbiota. They observed gender differences in microbiota composition and showed that bacteria are not uniformly distributed in the stratum corneum. Phylogenetic distance analysis was employed to follow microbiota development during recolonization of injured skin. Surprisingly, the developing neo-microbiome at day 14 was more similar to that of the deeper stratum corneum layers than to the initial surface microbiome. In addition, they also observed variation in the host response towards superficial injury as assessed by the induction of antimicrobial protein expression in epidermal keratinocytes. Characterization of the skin microbiome under dynamic conditions, and the ensuing response of the microbial community and host tissue will shed further light on the complex interaction between resident bacteria and epidermis.


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