Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 72, Issue 8, pp 1499–1515 | Cite as

Interactions between host factors and the skin microbiome



The skin is colonized by an assemblage of microorganisms which, for the most part, peacefully coexist with their hosts. In some cases, these communities also provide vital functions to cutaneous health through the modulation of host factors. Recent studies have illuminated the role of anatomical skin site, gender, age, and the immune system in shaping the cutaneous ecosystem. Alterations to microbial communities have also been associated with, and likely contribute to, a number of cutaneous disorders. This review focuses on the host factors that shape and maintain skin microbial communities, and the reciprocal role of microbes in modulating skin immunity. A greater understanding of these interactions is critical to elucidating the forces that shape cutaneous populations and their contributions to skin homeostasis. This knowledge can also inform the tendency of perturbations to predispose and/or bring about certain skin disorders.


Microbiome Cutaneous immunity Dermatology Skin Microbiota 



Operational taxonomic unit


Polymerase chain reaction


Quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Langerhans cells


Cutaneous leukocyte antigen


Human papillomavirus


Primary immunodeficiency


Germ free


Specific pathogen free


Atopic dermatitis


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© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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