Research ArticleMicrobiome

Antimicrobials from human skin commensal bacteria protect against Staphylococcus aureus and are deficient in atopic dermatitis

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Science Translational Medicine  22 Feb 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 378, eaah4680
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah4680

Bacterial biological warfare in atopic dermatitis

Normal human skin is colonized by a variety of bacteria, which typically do not perturb the host. However, Staphylococcus aureus is known to aggravate symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Nakatsuji et al. report that other strains of Staphylococcus residing on the skin of healthy individuals produce a novel antimicrobial peptide that can inhibit S. aureus growth. Colonization of pigskin or mice with these protective commensals reduced S. aureus replication. Autologous bacterial transplant in a small number of atopic dermatitis patients drastically reduced S. aureus skin burden. This commensal skin transplant is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with a clinical trial underway.