Nav: Home

Skin microbiome influences common sexually transmitted disease

September 15, 2015

Washington, DC - September 15, 2015 - For years, researchers have known that the human skin is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. Now a new study has shown that individuals with a particular skin microbiome can effectively clear bacteria that cause chancroid, a sexually transmitted disease common in the developing world that has been linked to enhanced HIV transmission. The study, published in the September 15th issue of mBio, is the first prospective study to show that the skin microbiome can influence the outcomes of a bacterial infection.

"What we found from this study is that people who resolve infections start off with microbiomes that resemble each other. People who form abscesses in response to infection have different microbiomes that don't resemble each other preinfection, but during an infection, they get driven to one composition," said lead study author Stanley Spinola, MD, professor and chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. "If the bacteria in the resolvers are actually contributing to the host defense, you could think about using bacteria as a probiotic to help prevent infection or you could use the microbiome to identify people at risk for certain infections. This, however, is speculative. You would have to test it."

Researchers have hypothesized that some resident bacteria can protect the skin from infection by outcompeting pathogens for resources or by priming the immune system's response to invaders. Until now, however, no prospective study has evaluated the influence of the skin microbiome on the susceptibility to or protection from infection.

In the new study, researchers evaluated the skin microbiome of eight individuals before, during, and after inoculation with Haemophilus ducreyi on the arm. In addition to chancroid, this bacteria has emerged as a major cause of skin ulcers in children in equatorial Africa and the South Pacific, so infection of the arm is relevant to its biology. Infected individuals can either clear the infection or develop pustules that eventually form abscesses. The investigators compared the skin microbiome in patients who resolved their H. ducreyi infection to those who didn't. The researchers discovered that preinfection skin microbiomes of pustule formers and resolvers have distinct community structures that change in response to the progression of H. ducreyi infection.

"The number one question is whether the microbiome that is present in patients who resolve the infection is merely a signature of an innate immune system that is good at clearing the skin of infections or are there specific bacteria in that composition that are helping the immune system clear the pathogen," said Dr. Spinola. Ongoing research hopes to elucidate an answer to this question.

Investigators from Loyola University in Chicago and Indiana University, Indianapolis were also involved in the research.
-end-
mBio® is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. It can be found online at http://mbio.asm.org.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Immune System Articles:

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.
Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.
How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.
Immune system upgrade
Theoretically, our immune system could detect and kill cancer cells.
Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis
Filming how our immune system kill bacteria
To kill bacteria in the blood, our immune system relies on nanomachines that can open deadly holes in their targets.
Putting the break on our immune system's response
Researchers have discovered how a tiny molecule known as miR-132 acts as a 'handbrake' on our immune system -- helping us fight infection.
Decoding the human immune system
For the first time ever, researchers are comprehensively sequencing the human immune system, which is billions of times larger than the human genome.
Masterswitch discovered in body's immune system
Scientists have discovered a critical part of the body's immune system with potentially major implications for the treatment of some of the most devastating diseases affecting humans.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.