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Environ Microbiol. 2012 Aug;14(8):2087-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02756.x. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Staphylococcus prevails in the skin microbiota of long-term immunodeficient mice.

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  • 1Institut de Biologia Evolutiva CSIC-UPF, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


Host-commensal relationships in the skin are a complex system governed by variables related to the host, the bacteria and the environment. A disruption of this system may lead to new steady states, which, in turn, may lead to disease. We have studied one such disruption by characterizing the skin microbiota in healthy and immunodepressed (ID) mice. A detailed anatomopathological study failed to reveal any difference between the skin of healthy and ID mice. We sequenced the 16S rDNA V1-V2 gene region to saturation in 10 healthy and 10 ID 8 week-old mice, and found than all of the healthy and two of the ID mice had bacterial communities that were similar in composition to that of human skin, although, presumably because of the uniform raising conditions, less interindividual variation was found in mice. However, eight ID mice showed microbiota dominated by Staphylococcus epidermidis. Quantitative PCR amplification of 16S rDNA gene and of the Staphylococcus-specific TstaG region confirmed the previous results and indicated that the quantitative levels of Staphylococcus were similar in both groups while the total number of 16S copies was greater in the healthy mice. Thus, it is possible that, under long-term immunodeficiency, which removes the acquired but not the native immune system, S.epidermidis may inhibit the growth of other bacteria but does not cause a pathogenic state.

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