Researchers show that the composition of human skin microbiome can be modulated

Researchers show that the composition of human skin microbiome can be modulated

News from DCEXS-UPF

Scientists at UPF and the company S-Biomedic have demonstrated the use of living bacteria to modulate skin microbiome composition. In the study, mixtures of different skin microbial components have been used to temporarily modulate the composition of recipient skin bacteria for therapeutic or cosmetic purposes.

“We are particularly interested in Cutibacterium acnes and its strain diversity, as this bacterium represents a major part of the human skin microbiome, and certain strains are associated with a deviation in the microbiome which probably causes acne vulgaris”, states Marc Güell, head of the Translational Synthetic Biology group at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS). “Therefore, we developed and tested an approach to modulate the subpopulation of this species at strain level”, adds Güell.

For the study, the researchers prepared probiotic solutions from donor microbiomes and applied them in 18 healthy volunteers aged 22 to 42. Eight different skin areas were defined for application —on the chest and along the spine—, chosen due to their typically high abundance of sebaceous glands.

They show that after sequential applications of a donor microbiome, the recipient becomes more similar to the donor microbiome. The level of success depends on the composition of the recipient and donor microbiomes, and the bacterial load applied.


B Paetzold, J R. Willis, J Pereira de Lima, N Knödlseder, H Brüggemann, S R. Quist, T Gabaldón and M Güell. Skin microbiome modulation induced by probiotic solutions. Microbiome, June 2019. DOI: 10.1186/s40168-019-0709-3.

More information:
DCEXS-UPF website