Systemic supplementation with probiotics is increasingly being explored as a potential treatment strategy for skin disorders. Because both the gut-skin axis and dysregulation of insulin signalling have been implicated in the pathogenesis of adult acne, we designed the current study to evaluate the effect of supplementation with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 (LSP1) on skin expression of genes involved in insulin signalling and acne improvement in adult subjects. A pilot, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted with 20 adult subjects (14 females and 6 males; mean age: 33.7±3.3 years) with acne. Over a 12-week period, the probiotic group (n=10) consumed a liquid supplement containing LSP1 at a dose of 3×109 cfu/day (75 mg/day), whereas the placebo group (n=10) received a liquid lacking probiotics. Paired skin biopsies - one obtained before treatment initiation and one obtained at the end of the 12-week treatment period - were analysed for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and forkhead box protein O1 (FOXO1) gene expression. The clinical criterion for efficacy was the investigator's global improvement rating on a five-point scale. Compared with baseline, the probiotic group showed a 32% (P<0.001) reduction, as well as a 65% increase (P<0.001) in IGF1 and FOXO1 gene expression in the skin, respectively. No such differences were observed in the placebo group. Patients in the probiotic group had an adjusted odds ratio of 28.4 (95% confidence interval = 2.2-411.1, P<0.05) to be rated by physicians as improved/markedly improved (versus worsened or unchanged) compared with the placebo group. We conclude that supplementation with the probiotic strain LSP1 normalises skin expression of genes involved in insulin signalling and improves the appearance of adult acne.
Keywords: Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1; acne; gene expression; insulin signalling; probiotic; skin; supplementation.