Writing in Experimental Dermatology, two researchers from the Netherlands and US published an article spotlighting the “exciting collection” of research articles, viewpoint essays and critical reviews covering host-microbiota interaction and innovative approaches and tools being used in the skin microbiome field.
Skin microbiome knowledge has ‘expanded drastically’ in past 20 years
A look at the array of published material, they said, demonstrated that understanding of the microbial ecosystem of the skin, commonly referred to as the microbiome, had “expanded drastically” over the past two decades.
And these knowledge advances, they said, were in part due to the development of culture-independent sequencing-based methods that had allowed investigators to formulate hypotheses around the mechanistic and functional roles of skin microbes in homeostatic and disease processes.
Many skin microbiota surveys, for example, had provided insight on the diversity of microbial communities and improved understanding on how various factors in the skin microenvironment influenced the composition of these communities. Similarly, widespread research efforts had looked more closely at the roles skin bacteria played in maintaining a healthy, functioning skin barrier, according to the researchers.
However, as research efforts continued to advance in the skin microbiome field, they said an “essential next step forward” would be to deepen understanding on the functional role of the skin microbiome and its interactions with its host, including antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and other innate immune defences and responses.
Looking at the ‘interplay’ between host defence and skin microbiota
There were already several articles and reviews that described the “interplay between host defence strategies and skin microbiota”, the researchers said, particularly how the skin microbiota interacted with cutaneous AMPs. But further understanding in this space would be achieved with research conducted using advanced technologies in the field, they said.
“We anticipate that emerging technologies, such as single-cell approaches, in vivo imaging and spatial transcriptomics/metabolomics, of both host and microbial communities, will lead the field to new levels of mechanistic understanding and therapeutic application,” the researchers wrote.
“Furthermore, we are now catching a glimpse of how leveraging these interactions may be used to prevent and treat inflammatory skin disorders,” they said.
Important and large-scale research projects would also lay out the grounds to future develop understanding, according to the researchers. The EU’s BIOMAP consortium, for example, aimed to collate data from an expanse of microbiome studies looking at several areas. The project aimed to explore the relationship between the environment, host genome and microbiome, for example, along with the role of microbiome in disease initiation and early development and gene regulation and disease activity.
BIOMAP also aimed to determine microbial signatures correlating with disease subtype, activity and therapy response and characterize microbial targets in cellular models for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis – taking understanding of microbe-host interplay in these diseases even further.
All of this existing research and future promise, the researchers said, reflected “prior progress and future prospects for the field of skin host-microbiota interactions”.
Next-gen innovation and science in the skin microbiome
Interested in digging deeper into the world of research and innovation advances in the skin microbiome field? CosmeticsDesign is hosting a free-to-attend Skin Microbiome: Next-gen Innovation and Science webinar on September 28 that will bring together experts in the field to discuss future opportunities in building knowledge in this space, including cutting-edge skin diagnostic tools.
Registration for this online expert panel webinar is now open.
Source: Experimental Dermatology
Published September 1, 2021. Online ahead of print, doi: 10.111/exd.14454
Title: “Skin microbiome and antimicrobial peptides”
Authors: PLJM. Zeeuwen and EA. Grice