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Propionibacterium acnes and antimicrobial resistance in acne

      Abstract

      The human commensal bacterium Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) resides in the pilosebaceous duct of the skin. It has been long implicated in the pathogenesis of acne, although its exact role in the development of inflammatory acne lesions and in the formation of the microcomedo in the early stages of acne remains controversial. The worldwide prevalence of antibiotic-resistant P. acnes is increasing, with rates varying in different parts of the world. The reason for the difference in the antibiotic resistance patterns of P. acnes among different countries is not clear, although it may be attributed to different antibiotic prescribing habits, concomitant use of topical agents (retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, or other antibiotics), varying methods of bacterial sampling, or even different P. acnes populations. Although the relative abundances of P. acnes may be similar among patients with acne and individuals without acne, P. acnes populations and the presence of P. acnes biofilms differ, with different potential virulence properties and antimicrobial resistance patterns. Implications of the use of antibiotics and of antimicrobial resistance in patients with acne include the decreased efficacy of antibiotic treatments for acne, and the possible emergence of other resistant bacterial species via selective pressure by antibiotic use.
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