In vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of Propionibacterium acnes isolated from acne patients in northern Mexico

Int J Dermatol. 2010 Sep;49(9):1003-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2010.04506.x.


Background: Antimicrobials are essential in acne therapy. In the last decades, Propionibacterium acnes has become resistant to different antibiotics.

Objective: To determine antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of P. acnes to frequently used drugs.

Materials and methods: Cutaneous lesion samples were obtained from 50 patients with acne vulgaris, which were cultured in anaerobic media to demonstrate the presence of P. acnes. After that, antimicrobial susceptibility tests to tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, erythromycin, azithromycin, clindamycin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (SXT) and levofloxacin were performed.

Results: In the general study group, resistance to azithromycin was 82%, the most prevalent one (P < 0.05), followed by trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (68%) and erythromycin (46%). On the other hand, all strains isolated were susceptible to minocycline. Resistance bias were similar when subgroups with and without the previous antimicrobial therapy were performed, finding a low prevalence of resistance to tetracyclines and levofloxacin in both groups.

Conclusions: In our region, P. acnes is highly resistant to azithromycin, SXT, erythromycin and clindamycin; and being very susceptible to minocycline, levofloxacin and tetracycline, in vitro in both groups: with and without the previous antibiotic use. To our knowledge, high resistance prevalence to azithromycin and SXT has never been reported.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects*
  • Propionibacterium acnes / isolation & purification
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents