Laser capture microdissection as a method for investigating the human hair follicle microbiome reveals region-specific differences in the bacteriome profile

BMC Res Notes. 2023 Mar 6;16(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s13104-023-06302-5.


Objective: Human hair follicles (HFs) are populated by a rich and diverse microbiome, traditionally evaluated by methods that inadvertently sample the skin microbiome and/or miss microbiota located in deeper HF regions. Thereby, these methods capture the human HF microbiome in a skewed and incomplete manner. This pilot study aimed to use laser-capture microdissection of human scalp HFs, coupled with 16S rRNA gene sequencing to sample the HF microbiome and overcome these methodological limitations.

Results: HFs were laser-capture microdissected (LCM) into three anatomically distinct regions. All main known core HF bacterial colonisers, including Cutibacterium, Corynebacterium and Staphylococcus, were identified, in all three HF regions. Interestingly, region-specific variations in α-diversity and microbial abundance of the core microbiome genera and Reyranella were identified, suggestive of variations in microbiologically relevant microenvironment characteristics. This pilot study therefore shows that LCM-coupled with metagenomics is a powerful tool for analysing the microbiome of defined biological niches. Refining and complementing this method with broader metagenomic techniques will facilitate the mapping of dysbiotic events associated with HF diseases and targeted therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; Hair follicles; Microbiome.

MeSH terms

  • Hair Follicle*
  • Humans
  • Laser Capture Microdissection
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Pilot Projects
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S