Transplantation of human skin microbiota in models of atopic dermatitis

JCI Insight. 2016 Jul 7;1(10):e86955. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.86955.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is characterized by reduced barrier function, reduced innate immune activation, and susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus. Host susceptibility factors are suggested by monogenic disorders associated with AD-like phenotypes and can be medically modulated. S. aureus contributes to AD pathogenesis and can be mitigated by antibiotics and bleach baths. Recent work has revealed that the skin microbiome differs significantly between healthy controls and patients with AD, including decreased Gram-negative bacteria in AD. However, little is known about the potential therapeutic benefit of microbiome modulation. To evaluate whether parameters of AD pathogenesis are altered after exposure to different culturable Gram-negative bacteria (CGN) collected from human skin, CGN were collected from healthy controls and patients with AD. Then, effects on cellular and culture-based models of immune, epithelial, and bacterial function were evaluated. Representative strains were evaluated in the MC903 mouse model of AD. We found that CGN taken from healthy volunteers but not from patients with AD were associated with enhanced barrier function, innate immunity activation, and control of S. aureus. Treatment with CGN from healthy controls improved outcomes in a mouse model of AD. These findings suggest that a live-biotherapeutic approach may hold promise for treatment of patients with AD.