Identification of cutaneous fungi and mites in adult atopic dermatitis: analysis by targeted 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing

Sofie Marie Edslev, Paal Skytt Andersen, Tove Agner, Ditte Marie Lindhardt Saunte, Anna Cäcilia Ingham, Thor Bech Johannesen, Maja-Lisa Clausen

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BACKGROUND: Atopic dermatitis (AD) patients have an altered skin bacterial community, with an abundance of Staphylococcus aureus associated with flares, highlighting that microbial organisms may be important for disease exacerbation. Despite strong evidence of association between bacterial skin colonisation and AD, very limited knowledge regarding the eukaryotic microbial community, including fungi and ectoparasites, in AD exists. In this study, we compared the skin and nasal eukaryotic microbial community between adult AD patients (n = 55) and non-AD healthy controls (n = 45) using targeted 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Analysis was based on the presence or absence of eukaryotic microorganisms.

RESULTS: The cutaneous composition of the eukaryotic microbial community and the alpha-diversity differed significantly between AD patients and non-AD individuals, with increased species richness on AD skin. Alpha-diversity and beta-diversity were similar on lesional and non-lesional skin of patients. The ectoparasite Demodex folliculorum and the yeast Geotrichum candidum were significantly more prevalent on the skin of AD patients. The prevalence of D. folliculorum on lesional skin was greater among patients recently treated with topical corticosteroid. Malassezia was one of the most frequently detected genera at all sites, with M. globosa and M. restricta being the most prevalent. M. restricta was under represented in the anterior nares of AD patients as compared to the non-AD control population.

CONCLUSION: Significant differences in the eukaryotic microbial communities were found between AD patients and non-AD individuals, with the most striking finding being the significantly overrepresentation of D. folliculorum on AD skin. Whether D. folliculorum can contribute to skin inflammation in AD needs further investigation.

TidsskriftBMC Microbiology
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 4 mar. 2021


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