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Infect Dis (Auckl). 2016 Oct 9;9:39-44. eCollection 2016.

Propionibacterium acnes Susceptibility and Correlation with Hemolytic Phenotype.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University at Buffalo, NY, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA.



Many studies have noted an increase in the number of recognized cases of invasive infections due to Propionibacterium acnes, especially after shoulder replacement surgery. The increase in the number of recognized cases of P. acnes, a nonspore-forming, anaerobic, Gram-positive organism, appears due to both an increase in the number of shoulder operations being performed and more specimens being sent for anaerobic cultures. Nevertheless, the optimal surgical and antibiotic management of P. acnes remains controversial.


We tested the susceptibility of 106 P. acnes strains from sterile body sites collected at the Erie County Medical Center between 2012 and 2015, using Etest gradient antibiotic strips.


P. acnes is very susceptible to the penicillins and the first-generation cephalosporins. We noted an association between hemolytic phenotype on Brucella Blood Agar and clindamycin resistance.


Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of P. acnes should no longer just be confined to the research laboratory but expanded and incorporated into routine microbiological evaluation of P. acnes. This would improve patient care as well as help clarify the relationship between hemolysis and clindamycin resistance.


clindamycin; hemolysin; penicillin G; sarcoidosis

Conflict of interest statement

TRD discloses a research grant and consulting fees from Zimmer-Biomet, outside the work presented here. Other authors disclose no potential conflicts of interest.

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