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Acta Derm Venereol. 2018 Feb 7;98(2):262-267. doi: 10.2340/00015555-2847.

Decrease in Diversity of Propionibacterium acnes Phylotypes in Patients with Severe Acne on the Back.

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CIC, INSERM U1232, FR-44093 Nantes, France.


Propionibacterium acnes, a major member of normal skin microbiota, is subdivided into 6 phylotypes: IA1, IA2, IB, IC, II and III. This study investigated P. acnes subgroups on the face and back in patients with severe acne and in healthy controls. In 71.4% of patients with severe acne, P. acnes phylotypes were identical on the face and back, whereas this was the case in only 45.5% of healthy controls. The healthy group carried phylotypes IA1 (39.1%) and II (43.4%), whereas the acne group carried a high predominance of IA1 (84.4%), especially on the back (95.6%). In addition, the single-locus sequence typing (SLST) method revealed A1 to be the predominant type on the back of patients with acne, compared with a wide diversity in the healthy group. We report here that severity of acne on the back is associated with loss of diversity of P. acnes phylotype, with a major predominance of phylotype IA1. The change in balance of cutaneous P. acnes subgroups might be an inducing factor in the activation of P. acnes, which could trigger inflammation.

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