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Some Bacteria Shown to Inhibit Skin Inflammation

Posted: December 2, 2009

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The skin's normal microflora—the microscopic and usually harmless bacteria that live on the skin—includes certain staphylococcal bacterial species that will induce an inflammatory response when they are introduced below the skin's surface, but do not initiate inflammation when present on the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. In this study, Lai, Gallo and colleagues revealed a previously unknown mechanism by which a product of staphylococci inhibits skin inflammation. Such inhibition is mediated by a molecule called staphylococcal lipoteichoic acid (LTA) which acts on keratinocytes, the primary cell types found on the epidermis.

The researchers also found that Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) activation is required for normal inflammation after skin injury. "Keratinocytes require TLR3 to mount a normal inflammatory response to injury, and this response is kept from becoming too aggressive by staphylococcal LTA," said Gallo. "To our knowledge, these findings show for the first time that the skin epithelium requires TLR3 for normal inflammation after wounding and that the microflora helps to modulate this response."

Additional contributors to the paper include Yuping Lai, Anna Di Nardo, Teruaki Nakatsuji, Anna L Cogen, Chun-Ming Huang and Katherine A. Radek, UCSD Division of Dermatology and the VA San Diego Healthcare System; Anke Leichtle and Allen F. Ryan, UCSD Department of Surgery/Otolaryngology and the VA San Diego Healthcare System; Yan Yang and Zi-Rong Wu, School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai; Lora V Hooper, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; and Richard R Schmidt and Sonja von Aulock, University of Konstanz, Germany. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a U.S. Veterans Administration Merit Award.

Story source: Adapted from materials provided by University of California - San Diego, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

ScienceDaily.com, November 23, 2009