The influence of the commensal skin bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis on the epidermal barrier and inflammation : Implications for atopic dermatitis

The skin microbiota is a crucial component in maintaining cutaneous barrier function. Staphylococcus epidermidis is considered as a beneficial commensal member of the cutaneous microbiota promoting skin health. However, S. epidermidis is also frequently detectable in the skin of patients with the inflammatory skin disease atopic dermatitis (AD) and some studies reported a significantly higher presence of S. epidermidis in severe AD as compared to mild AD. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse the impact of S. epidermidis on the expression of cutaneous inflammatory mediators and skin barrier molecules. Various S. epidermidis skin-derived isolates activated the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-kappaB and induced expression of AD-associated proinflammatory cytokines in human primary keratinocytes and 3D skin equivalents. Skin barrier molecules such as filaggrin were downregulated by S. epidermidis. In general, AD-derived S. epidermidis strains elicited a higher response than strains derived from the skin of healthy individuals. Taken together, our results provide further evidence that the abundance of S. epidermidis in AD may trigger the inflammatory scenario associated with this disease.


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