Treatment Decreases the Diversity of the Preadolescent Acne Microbiome

Selected by Pietro Cazzola, MD

Acne, a common pediatric disease, tends to be more comedonal in preadolescents, whereas older individuals are more likely to have inflammatory lesions in addition to comedones. Thus the microbiome of preadolescents may be different. In this pilot study we aimed to characterize the preadolescent acne microbiome, compare the microbiome in preadolescents with and without acne, and investigate changes in the microbiome after topical treatment with benzoyl peroxide or a retinoid in a small cohort of preadolescents.

Participants were 7-10 years of age with (intervention group) or without (control group) acne and were recruited during routine outpatient dermatology visits. Baseline questionnaires, physical examination, and pore strip application were performed for all participants. Intervention group participants were randomized to receive topical therapy with benzoyl peroxide 5% gel or cream or tretinoin 0.025% cream. Participants with acne were followed up 8-10 weeks later and pore strip application was repeated.

Preadolescents with acne were colonized with a greater diversity of cutaneous bacteria than controls and the most commonly identified bacterium was Streptococcus. The number of bacterial species and phylogenetic diversity decreased after treatment with benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin.

The predominant bacteria in microbiome studies of adult acne is Propionibacterium, whereas in this pediatric population we saw a lot of Streptococcus bacteria. After treatment, the microbiomes of intervention group participants more closely resembled those of control group participants.

CC Coughlin, SM Swink, J Horwinski, G Sfyroera, J Bugayev, EA Grice, AC Yan Pediatr Dermatol 2017 Oct 11;[EPub Ahead of Print],