Skin Microbiome in Patients With Psoriasis Before and After Balneotherapy at the Thermal Care Center of La Roche-Posay

J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Dec;14(12):1400-5.


Background: Changes in the composition of microbial communities that colonize skin have been linked to several diseases including psoriasis. Nevertheless, the intra-individual dynamics and how these communities respond to balneotherapy remain poorly understood.

Methods: This open label study was conducted between July and September 2012. Microbial communities of patients with psoriasis vulgaris were characterized prior and post a 3-week selenium-rich water balneotherapy treatment at the thermal care center La Roche-Posay (La Roche-Posay, France). Balneotherapy consisted of high-pressure filiform showers, baths, facial, and body spray treatments as well as La Roche-Posay thermal spring water (LRP-TSW) consumption. Swabs were taken from affected and proximal unaffected skin and the 16S rRNA bacterial gene was used to analyze the composition of bacterial communities. Using the same 16S rRNA gene tool, we tried to describe the LRP-TSW bacterial landscape.

Results: This study included 54 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe forms of psoriasis vulgaris. After eliminating individuals lacking paired samples from both visits, 29 individuals were analyzed for their microbiome profile. Shannon Diversity Index and global bacterial landscape indicate similar microbial communities on both unaffected and adjacent affected skin. PASI values decreased post-balneotherapy implying improvement of disease severity. No significant change in the Shannon Diversity Index was noticed at the end of the third week. The average taxonomic composition of skin microbial communities associated with unaffected and affected skin of psoriatic patients post-balneotherapy shows that treatment with LRP-TSW significantly increased the level of Xanthomonas genus and, to a lesser extent, Corynebacterium genus. The Xanthomonas genus belongs to the main Xanthomonadaceae family found in LRP-TSW and also on healthy skin.

Conclusions: In psoriatic patients, a poor bacterial biodiversity was noticed and the bacterial communities were similar on unaffected and affected adjacent skin. Family analysis identified, for the first time, Xanthomonadaceae belonging to Proteobacteria phylum and known to be keratolytic, associated with the clinical improvement observed after a 3-week balneotherapy treatment. This data supports the interest of selenium-rich thermal spring water in the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Balneology / methods*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / microbiology*
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Selenium / therapeutic use
  • Skin / microbiology*


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • DNA
  • Selenium