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Microbes Infect. 2006 Jul;8(8):2195-205. Epub 2006 May 19.

Propionibacterium acnes and lipopolysaccharide induce the expression of antimicrobial peptides and proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines in human sebocytes.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Allergology, University of Szeged, Korányi fasor 6, 6720 Szeged, Hungary.


Acne is a common skin disorder of the pilosebaceous unit. In addition to genetic, hormonal and environmental factors, abnormal colonization by Propionibacterium acnes has been implicated in the occurrence of acne via the induction of inflammatory mediators. To gain more insight into the role that sebocytes play in the innate immune response of the skin, particularly in acne, we compared the antimicrobial peptide and proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine expression at mRNA and protein levels, as well as the viability and differentiation of SZ95 sebocytes in response to co-culture with representative isolates of P. acnes type IA and type IB as well as Escherichia coli-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We found that, in vitro, P. acnes type IA and IB isolates and LPS induced human beta-defensin-2 and proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine expression, and influenced sebocyte viability and differentiation. Our results provide evidence that sebocytes are capable of producing proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines and antimicrobial peptides, which may have a role in acne pathogenesis. Furthermore, since P. acnes types IA and IB differentially affect both the differentiation and viability of sebocytes, our data demonstrate that different strains of P. acnes vary in their capacity to stimulate an inflammatory response within the pilosebaceous follicle.

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