Quantitative PCR of Propionibacterium acnes DNA in samples aspirated from sebaceous follicles on the normal skin of subjects with or without acne.J Med Dent Sci 2010; 57(1):65-74JM
To elucidate whether people with hair follicles containing many Propionibacterium acnes cells are prone to acne, we developed a novel method to count the number of P. acnes in hair follicles. We sampled sebaceous material in hair follicles by aspiration at a constant negative pressure from the nose, forehead, and upper arm of 86 patients with acne vulgaris and 209 control subjects with healthy skin, including 84 subjects age-matched to the patients. Genome-equivalents of P. acnes in samples were estimated by real-time quantitative PCR (TaqMan). Numbers of P. acnes genome-equivalents were extremely low in control subjects less than 10 years of age and generally higher at greater ages, with much variation in subjects in the same decade of life. In men, the median count was highest in controls aged 15-19 years; in women, it peaked twice, in controls aged 15-19 years and again in those aged 40 years or older. P. acnes counts on the forehead and nose were higher in the acne patients aged 10-14 years than in the age-matched controls in both sexes. The counts at three sites were similar in acne patients and controls aged 15 to 29 years in both sexes. The results suggest that people with hair follicles containing many P. acnes cells are not particularly prone to acne, except for younger teenagers. Our aspiration method with estimation by real-time PCR can be used to examine the cutaneous microflora of P. acnes.