Consequences Of Perturbing The Skin Microbiome
The skin microbiome is a complex ecosystem with important implications for cutaneous health and disease, influencing allergic and autoimmune responses, wound healing, and anti-microbial defense. Despite these critical functions, the impact of topical interventions meant to disrupt the skin microbiome remains poorly understood. Even less understood are the functional consequences of altering skin microbial communities with respect to pathogenic colonization and/or infection. We longitudinally profiled the skin microbiome before, during, and after topical antiseptic and antibiotic treatments in mouse models and in humans. We will discuss the differential effect of antibiotics vs. antiseptics, the persistence of perturbations at the community level, and the influence of interpersonal and intrapersonal variation. We will also show how antimicrobial perturbations influence cutaneous colonization resistance, whereby the commensal microbiota either directly or indirectly protects the host from pathogenic and/or opportunistic colonization and/or infection. Finally, we will demonstrate the potential of disrupting host functions and pathways through microbial perturbation by using gnotobiotic mouse models coupled with transcriptome sequencing. In all, our research indicates that topical antimicrobials alter the skin microbiome, and these alterations can have critical implications for cutaneous host defense and functions.