Research Spotlight

The Role of the Microbiome in Psoriasis

Research spotlight on the presence of microbial bacteria in psoriasis

Hannah Yan

Hannah Yan

Skin Research Spotlight: "The role of the microbiome in psoriasis: moving from disease description to treatment prediction?"           

The topic of microbiomes, microbial communities in specific environments, in humans has been largely studied in recent years. Much attention has been paid specifically to the gut microbiome and now the skin microbiome. 

While microbiome composition varies from person to person due to several factors including age, sex, and ethnicity, researchers have found significant differences between psoriatic skin and normal skin. The skin microbiome in psoriasis appears to be altered in comparison to healthy skin. The authors of this recent publication reviewed what we know about the microbiome in psoriasis.[1]


Microbiome in Psoriasis

One study showed that psoriasis skin was dominated by the bacterial phyla Firmicutes and Actinobacteria while there was a higher abundance of Proteobacteria in healthy skin.[2] At the general level, Corynebacterium, Propionibacterium, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus were more prevalent in psoriasis skin. On the other hand, another study reported an abundance of Proteobacteria in psoriasis skin and a higher ratio of Streptococci to Staphylococci in psoriasis skin and the reverse for healthy skin.[3]


What We Still Do Not Know

What these microbiome results do not tell us is how we can use the results to guide treatment for psoriasis. With more studies in the future, we may be able to determine the extent of how much the skin microbiome contributes to the development of chronic skin conditions and if changing the microbiome can help be part of the treatment for psoriasis. For now, we just do not have enough information to know. 

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  1. Langan EA, Griffiths CEM, Solbach W, et al. The role of the microbiome in psoriasis: moving from disease description to treatment prediction? Br J Dermatol.2017PMID: 29071712 Link to research.
  2. Alekseyenko AV, Perez-Perez GI, De Souza A, et al. Community differentiation of the cutaneous microbiota in psoriasis. Microbiome.2013;1(1):31; PMID: 24451201 Link to research.
  3. Fahlen A, Engstrand L, Baker BS, et al. Comparison of bacterial microbiota in skin biopsies from normal and psoriatic skin. Arch Dermatol Res.2012;304(1):15-22; PMID: 22065152 Link to research.