The Evolving Role of Propionibacterium Acnes in Acne

Propionibacterium acnes is a member of the resident cutaneous flora. Sebaceous follicles involved in acne are characterized by the accumulation of abnormally desquamated corneocytes and excess sebum-the microcomedo. This environment provides ideal growth conditions for P acnes. Several orders of magnitude level of P acnes are found in microcomedos. P acnes produces a variety of chemotactic factors and proinflammatory molecules that are responsible for the inflammatory phase of acne. Antibiotic therapy works by reducing the viable number of P acnes as well as by reducing the production of inflammatory stimuli. Antibiotic therapy has been a mainstay of treatment for more than 30 years. In the last decade, decreased sensitivity to antibiotics has developed and clinical resistance has been described. This development threatens the usefulness of antibiotic therapy in the future.

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