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Microbiome and skin diseases

Zeeuwen, Patrick L.J.M.; Kleerebezem, Michiel; Timmerman, Harro M.; Schalkwijk, Joost

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: October 2013 - Volume 13 - Issue 5 - p 514–520
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328364ebeb
SKIN ALLERGY: Edited by Torsten Zuberbier and Thomas Werfel

Purpose of review This article reviews recent findings on the skin microbiome. It provides an update on the current understanding of the role of microbiota in healthy skin and in inflammatory and allergic skin diseases.

Recent findings Advances in computing and high-throughput sequencing technology have enabled in-depth analysis of microbiota composition and functionality of human skin. Most data generated to date are related to the skin microbiome of healthy volunteers, but recent studies have also addressed the dynamics of the microbiome in diseased and injured skin. Currently, reports are emerging that evaluate the strategies to manipulate the skin microbiome, intending to modulate diseases and/or their symptoms.

Summary The microbiome of normal human skin was found to have a high diversity and high interpersonal variation. Microbiota compositions of diseased lesional skin (in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis) showed distinct differences compared with healthy skin. The function of microbial colonization in establishing immune system homeostasis has been reported, whereas host–microbe interactions and genetically determined variation of stratum corneum properties might be linked to skin dysbiosis. Both are relevant for cutaneous disorders with aberrant immune responses and/or disturbed skin barrier function. Modulation of skin microbiota composition to restore host–microbiota homeostasis could be future strategies to treat or prevent disease.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text

aDepartment of Dermatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen

bHost-Microbe Interactomics Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen

cNIZO Food Research B.V., Ede, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Dr Joost Schalkwijk, Department of Dermatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 24 3614094; e-mail:

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