Bacterial skin commensals and their role as host guardians

Beneficial Microbes
G J M Christensen, Holger Brüggemann


Recent years' investigations of the co-evolution and functional integration of the human body and its commensal microbiota have disclosed that the microbiome has a major impact on physiological functions including protection against infections, reaction patterns in the immune system, and disposition for inflammation-mediated diseases. Two ubiquitous members of the skin microbiota, the Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes, are predominant on human epithelia and in sebaceous follicles, respectively. Their successful colonisation is a result of a commensal or even mutualistic lifestyle, favouring traits conferring persistency over aggressive host-damaging properties. Some bacterial properties suggest an alliance with the host to keep transient, potential pathogens at bay, such as the ability of S. epidermidis to produce antimicrobials, or the production of short-chain fatty acids by P. acnes. These features can function together with host-derived components of the innate host defence to establish and maintain the composition of a health-associated skin microbiota. However, depending largely on the host status, the relationship between the human host and S. epidermidis/P. acnes can also have...Continue Reading


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Opportunistic Infections
Propionibacterium acnes
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Staphylococcus epidermidis
Skin Diseases, Bacterial
Microbiota (plant)
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