Sunday, October 12, 2014

Skin is not bacteria-free.

The microbiome extends to subepidermal compartments of normal skin.

These authors point out that commensal microbes on the skin surface influence the behaviour of cells below the epidermis. In addition they hypothesized that bacteria or their products exist below the surface epithelium and permit physical interaction between microbes and dermal cells.

They employed multiple independent detection techniques for bacteria (quantitative PCR, Gram staining, immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization) and found that bacteria were consistently detectable within the dermis and dermal adipose of normal human skin, each skin compartment having a diverse and partially distinct microbial community. 
Their data showed a high abundance of S. epidermidis in the epidermis and an abundance of Propionibacterium in the anaerobic and lipid-rich hair follicle. The two charts in Figure 4 of their article show the prevalence of these two bacteria in the hair follicles.

Comment: These data are consistent with our recent study showing that Priopionibacterium can be recovered from punch biopsies of surgically prepared skin. Since surgical incisions are likely to transect hair follicles, there is a real risk that these bacteria be introduced into the wound.

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