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APMIS. 2014 Sep;122(9):804-9. doi: 10.1111/apm.12220. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

Microbiology of hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inversa): a histological study of 27 patients.

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Department of Medical Biosciences/Pathology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Hidradenitis suppurativa (acne inverse) (HS) is a chronic skin disease primarily affecting hair follicles. The aetiology of HS is unknown, but infection is believed to play some role. This retrospective study investigated the microbial colonization directly in skin appendices in HS skin samples. Archival samples from 27 patients with HS were screened by immunofluorescence labelling with monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against Gram-positive bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes and Propionibacterium granulosum. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used for further species identification of Staphylococcus spp. Overall, 17 patients (63%) were found positive for bacterial colonization. Of these, 15 showed colonization in hair follicles and/or sinus tracts. The most commonly identified bacteria were DAPI labelled coccoids that were seen in 71% of the positive patients in the form of biofilms and microcolonies. P. acnes was found as biofilms in hair follicles of two patients. Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci were not detected in any sample. The results of this study indicate a common bacterial presence in HS skin lesions. Bacterial biofilms are not uncommon and their pathogenic role needs further evaluation.


Hidradenitis; Propionibacterium acnes; Staphylococcus; biofilm; in situ hybridization

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