Interaction of Cutibacterium ( formerly Propionibacterium) acnes with bone cells: a step toward understanding bone and joint infection development

Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 20;7:42918. doi: 10.1038/srep42918.


Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) is recognized as a pathogen in foreign-body infections (arthroplasty or spinal instrumentation). To date, the direct impact of C. acnes on bone cells has never been explored. The clade of 11 C. acnes clinical isolates was determined by MLST. Human osteoblasts and osteoclasts were infected by live C. acnes. The whole genome sequence of six isolates of this collection was analyzed. CC36 C. acnes strains were significantly less internalized by osteoblasts and osteoclasts than CC18 and CC28 C. acnes strains (p ≤ 0.05). The CC18 C. acnes ATCC6919 isolate could survive intracellularly for at least 96 hours. C. acnes significantly decreased the resorption ability of osteoclasts with a major impact by the CC36 strain (p ≤ 0.05). Genome analysis revealed 27 genes possibly linked to these phenotypic behaviors. We showed a direct impact of C. acnes on bone cells, providing new explanations about the development of C. acnes foreign-body infections.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / microbiology
  • Bone Diseases / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / microbiology
  • Joint Diseases / pathology
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Multilocus Sequence Typing
  • Propionibacterium acnes / genetics
  • Propionibacterium acnes / isolation & purification
  • Propionibacterium acnes / physiology*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing