Our research is aiming at investigating the connection between Propionibacterium acnes biofilms and various skin diseases affecting hair follicles. Furthermore, new insights into the complex network of bacterial infection and inflammatory reactions are explored. Research is also focussing on the composition of the skin microbiome and interactions of members thereof.
More than 80% of young adolescents are affected by acne vulgaris worldwide. The human skin commensal bacterium P. acnes has long been associated with inflammatory acne. However, its precise role in the disease and its interaction with the human immune system remains to be elucidated. So far, studies addressing the localization of P. acnes are mainly based on culture techniques. To provide a real insight into the pathogenic role of P. acnes in acne vulgaris, the bacterium should be visualized within its natural habitat. Methodologies enabling direct visualization of bacteria, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunofluorescence microscopy (IFM), either individually or combined are accurate at establishing micro-environment colonization. Results so far have shown the presence of two anatomically distinct populations of P. acnes – epidermal and follicular.
P. acnes biofilm in a hair follicle labelled Hair follicle showing a mixed
with P. acnes specific monoclonal population of P. acnes phylotypes
antibody (green). Brit J Dermatol, (yellow and red). Brit J
2012, 167:50-58. Dermatol, 2012, 167:50-58.