Isolation and Identification of the Follicular Microbiome: Implications for Acne Research
Our understanding of the microbiome and the role of P. acnes in skin homeostasis and acne pathogenesis is evolving. Multiple methods for sampling and identifying the skin’s microbiome exist and understanding the differences between the abilities of various methods to characterize the microbial landscape is warranted. This study compared the microbial diversity of samples obtained from the cheeks of twenty volunteers, collected by surface swab, pore strips, and cyanoacrylate glue follicular biopsy, all sequenced with 16S rRNA sequencing and whole-genome metagenomic sequencing (WGS). Data on patient preference for follicular sampling method was surveyed, with glue biopsies preferred compared to pore strips. Sequencing method choice influenced study results, as 16S V3-V4 sequencing identified more diversity than V1-V3 sequencing. Further, WGS was able to capture more diversity, including viruses, than 16S sequencing. The relative abundance of species and diversity did not differ between follicle sampling methods. However, the microbiome signature of the skin’s surface was significantly different from the follicle, suggesting distinct microbiome niches within the skin. P. acnes bacteria, ribotypes, and bacteriophages were identified equally by all sampling methods, suggesting that sampling method, whether for skin’s surface or follicle, does not impact P. acnes-related characterization.