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Antiseptic Agents Elicit Short-Term, Personalized, and Body Site–Specific Shifts in Resident Skin Bacterial Communities.

Despite critical functions in cutaneous health and disease, it is unclear how resident skin microbial communities are altered by topical antimicrobial interventions commonly used in personal and clinical settings. Here we show that acute exposure to antiseptic treatments elicits rapid but short-term depletion of microbial community diversity and membership. Thirteen subjects were enrolled in a longitudinal treatment study to analyze the effects of topical treatments (i.e., ethanol, povidone-iodine, chlorhexidine, and water) on the skin microbiome at two skin sites of disparate microenvironment: forearm and back. Treatment effects were highly dependent on personalized and body siteespecific colonization signatures, which concealed community dynamics at the population level when not accounted for in this analysis. The magnitude of disruption was influenced by the identity and abundance of particular bacterial inhabitants. Lowly abundant members of the skin microbiota were more likely to be displaced, and subsequently replaced, by the most abundant taxa prior to treatment. Members of the skin commensal family Propionibactericeae were particularly resilient to treatment, suggesting a distinct competitive advantage in the face of disturbance. These results provide insight into the stability and resilience of the skin microbiome, while establishing the impact of topical antiseptic treatment on skin bacterial dynamics and community ecology.

SanMiguel AJ, Meisel JS, Horwinski J, Zheng Q, Bradley CW, Grice EA. Antiseptic Agents Elicit Short-Term, Personalized, and Body Site–Specific Shifts in Resident Skin Bacterial Communities. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2018 Oct 1;138(10):2234-43.

Author: SanMiguel AJ, Meisel JS, Horwinski J, Zheng Q, Bradley CW, Grice EA

Published: 05/04/2021

Publication Type: Journal article