Alterations in the skin microbiome are associated with disease severity and treatment in the perioral zone of the skin of infants with atopic dermatitis

  • Yumei Zheng
  • Qian Wang
  • Laiji Ma
  • Yuanyuan Chen
  • Ying Gao
  • Gaolei Zhang
  • Shumei Cui
  • Haiyun Liang
  • Congfen He
  • Liya SongEmail author
Original Article


Atopic dermatitis (AD), a chronic relapsing inflammatory pruritic skin disorder with a unique pathophysiology, has a high incidence in the perioral zone among infants. This study aimed to analyze the association of skin microfloral dynamics with disease severity and treatment of AD in 0–1-year-old infants. Based on the eczema area and severity index, subjects were divided into five groups, i.e., mild, moderate, severe, and severe post-treatment, with a healthy control group, and bacterial density at the perioral lesion, disease severity, and treatment were assessed in 0–1-year-old infants with AD. The perioral lesions were colonized predominantly by Firmicutes, followed in abundance by Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Bacteroidetes. In the phylum Firmicutes, Streptococcus was the most predominant genus. In AD infants, the abundance of Bacteroidetes and Fusobacterium decreased significantly with an increase in disease severity (p < 0.01). The abundance of 6 genera, including Prevotella, decreased significantly with an increase in disease severity (p < 0.05). The abundance of Prevotella melaninogenica decreased gradually with an increase in disease severity and increased after treatment; this trend was reversed for Corynebacterium simulans. A reduction in the abundance of Staphylococcus and an increase in that of skin microflora including Prevotella spp., Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Erwinia dispersa were associated with treatment and clinical improvement. Skin bacterial composition varies with AD severity, and Corynebacterium simulans and Prevotella melaninogenica are positively and negatively correlated with AD severity, respectively. This study provides a theoretical basis to identify potential biomarkers AD occurrence and pathogenesis.


Atopic dermatitis Perioral skin Bacterial diversity Prevotella melaninogenica 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Capital Academy of Pediatrics.

Informed consent

The written informed consent was obtained from the guardians for the participation of infants and to acquire photographs. Before inclusion in the study, the investigator provided the volunteers with all the information about the study. When the parents/guardians of infants give them consent, them and the investigator signed and dated the consent form.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Lab of Plant Resources Research and DevelopmentBeijing Technology and Business UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Jahwa CorporationShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Capital Institute of PediatricsBeijingChina

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