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Sci Rep. 2016 May 12;6:24877. doi: 10.1038/srep24877.

Dandruff is associated with the conjoined interactions between host and microorganisms.

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State Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism, Joint International Research Laboratory of Metabolic &Developmental Sciences, School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology; Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Systems Biomedicine, Shanghai Center for Systems Biomedicine (SCSB), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200240, China.
Kao (China) Research &Development Center, 623 Zi Ri Road, Minhang, Shanghai, 200241, China.
Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, 1278 Bao De Road, Zhabei, Shanghai, 200443, China.
Kao Corporation, Biological Science Laboratories, 2606 Akabane, Ichikai-machi, Haga-gun, Tochigi, 321-3497, Japan.


Dandruff is an unpleasant scalp disorder common to human populations. In this study, we systematically investigated the intra- and inter-associations among dandruff, physiological conditions such as sebum of the scalp, host demographics such as gender, age and the region of the scalp, and the microorganisms on the scalp. We found that the physiological conditions were highly relevant to the host age and varied in different regions of the same scalp. The sebum quantity and water content were negatively correlated with the formation of dandruff and had significant relationships with the two dominant but reciprocally inhibited bacteria on the scalp (Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus). The dominant fungus (Malassezia species) displayed contrary roles in its contribution to the healthy scalp micro-environment. Bacteria and fungi didn't show a close association with each other, but the intramembers were tightly linked. Bacteria had a stronger relationship with the severity of dandruff than fungi. Our results indicated that the severity of dandruff was closely associated with the interactions between the host and microorganisms. This study suggests that adjusting the balance of the bacteria on the scalp, particularly by enhancing Propionibacterium and suppressing Staphylococcus, might be a potential solution to lessen dandruff.

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