Longitudinal Evaluation of the Skin Microbiome and Association with Microenvironment and Treatment in Canine Atopic Dermatitis

J Invest Dermatol. 2016 Jun;136(6):1182-1190. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.01.023. Epub 2016 Feb 6.


Host-microbe interactions may play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis, a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disorder characterized by universal colonization with Staphylococcus species. To examine the relationship between epidermal barrier function and the cutaneous microbiota in atopic dermatitis, this study used a spontaneous model of canine atopic dermatitis. In a cohort of 14 dogs with canine atopic dermatitis, the skin microbiota were longitudinally evaluated with parallel assessment of skin barrier function at disease flare, during antimicrobial therapy, and post-therapy. Sequencing of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene showed decreased bacterial diversity and increased proportions of Staphylococcus (S. pseudintermedius in particular) and Corynebacterium species compared with a cohort of healthy control dogs (n = 16). Treatment restored bacterial diversity with decreased proportions of Staphylococcus species, concurrent with decreased canine atopic dermatitis severity. Skin barrier function, as measured by corneometry, pH, and transepidermal water loss also normalized with treatment. Bacterial diversity correlated with transepidermal water loss and pH level but not with corneometry results. These findings provide insights into the relationship between the cutaneous microbiome and skin barrier function in atopic dermatitis, show the impact of antimicrobial therapy on the skin microbiome, and highlight the utility of canine atopic dermatitis as a spontaneous nonrodent model of atopic dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / microbiology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Microbiota / drug effects*
  • Random Allocation
  • Staphylococcus / pathogenicity*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents