Skin Microbiome

Team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions across the U.S. has find a connection between a skin microbiome imbalance and eczema flareups. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes their study of the skin microbiome and the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which has been associated with eczema.

Over the past decade, scientists have learned more about the human microbiome studies; so of the gut microbiome for example, have led to often surprising associations with a wide variety of conditions. In this new effort, the researchers looked at the skin microbiome; also its possible connection to ectopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.

Eczema presents as patches of rough skin that sometimes become inflamed. In many cases, blisters form; which lead to itching, scratching and bleeding. Despite a significant amount of research; so medical scientists have not determined its causes or a cure. They have learn that flareups happen when the immune system; so overreacts to a stimulus and mounts an attack on the skin barrier. Prior research has suggested that there might be a connection between the condition and the microbiome.

In this new effort, the researchers have take steps to determine; so if eczema is related to a skin microbiome imbalance. They studied one specific type of microbiome bacteria, S. aureus, and its association with eczema. Prior research has shown that S. aureus is more abundant on the skin of people who suffer from eczema. It has also led to the discovery that people who have eczema tend to have lower concentrations of cells that assist in building up skin barriers this is why S. aureus is able to flourish.

Samples from human skin

To better understand the relationship between S. aureus and the skin biome; so the researchers collect samples from human skinand bred colonies of the bacteria on mouse skin. They find that S. aureus made use of a process called “quorum sensing” as a means of communication between S. aureus individuals.
The bacteria use it to know when to release toxins and enzymes that break down the skin barrier; so allowing the bacteria access to interior parts of the skin, which causes flareups. The researchers also find that other bacteria living on the skin; actually fight off the toxins using proteins that interfere with quorum sensing. When the researchers cultured some of the “good” bacteria and applied it to the skin of mice with eczema, it prevented flareups.
Characterization of a S. hominis clinical isolate identified an auto inducing peptide (SYNVCGGYF) as a highly potent inhibitor of S. aureus agr activity, capable of preventing S. aureus–mediated epithelial damage and inflammation on murine skin. Together, these findings show how members of the normal human skin microbiome can contribute to epithelial barrier homeostasis by using quorum sensing to inhibit S. aureus toxin production.