Get That Weak Staph Outta Here!

Certain skin commensal bacteria protect individuals against Staphylococcus aureus colonization

We’re all covered in skin (hopefully) and our skin is covered with microbes. For the most part, this skin microbiome coexists with us and remains stable, despite our constant contact with other people and our environment.

However, when a person has atopic dermatitis (a subtype of dermatitis, or what’s commonly referred to as eczema), their skin microbiome is different than non-atopic dermatitis subjects. Coincidentally, atopic dermatitis patients are much more likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureusStaphylococcus aureus is not only the preeminent cause of skin infections in these patients, but has also been linked to the immune dysfunction intrinsic to atopic dermatitis.

Gallo and colleagues recently showed that certain bacteria on the skin of non-atopic dermatitis subjects secrete antimicrobial peptides that selectively targeted S. aureus. These microbes were significantly reduced on the skin of atopic dermatitis patients. Culturing of these low abundance strains from the patients and a re-application of them on their respective arms at higher abundance decreased S. aureus colonization. Utilizing a range of techniques, the authors elucidate a role of the healthy skin microbiome in pathogen defence and apply their findings to carry out a pilot precision medicine trial on atopic dermatitis patients.

On April 28, 2017 at 3PM in HSC 3N10A, I will discuss this paper and its implications for microbiome research. I hope to:

  • Critically appraise the findings of the journal article
  • Discuss pathways to translation of microbiome research into clinical practice and expectations of the public, policymakers, researchers, industry, and clinicians

Paper Citation: Nakatsuji, T. et al. Antimicrobials from human skin commensal bacteria protect against Staphylococcus aureus and are deficient in atopic dermatitis. Sci. Transl. Med. 9, 1–12 (2017).

P.S. Go Raptors!

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