Content » Vol 94, Issue 5

Investigative Report

Clonality and Anatomic Distribution on the Skin of Antibiotic Resistant and Sensitive Propionibacterium acnes

Hans B. Lomholt, Mogens Kilian
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1794


Increasing antibiotic resistance in the population of Propionibacterium acnes is a major concern. Our aims were to examine the clonal relationships and anatomical distribution of resistant and sensitive P. acnes. A collection of 350 P. acnes isolates was therefore used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of tetracycline, erythro-mycin and clindamycin, multilocus sequence type, and the identity of genetic resistance markers. Two hitherto unknown resistance mutations were detected. Resistant P. acnes mainly belonged to clonal clusters in division I-1a frequently isolated from skin and associated with moderate to severe acne. All high-level tetracyc-line resistant strains were members of a single clone. Multiple isolates from distinct anatomic areas of surface skin and follicles of 2 acne patients revealed substantial clonal diversity between areas and co-existence of resistant and sensitive clones. Fifty-two percent of Danish acne patients and 43% of controls carried at least one resistant P. acnes strain, resistance to clindamycin being most frequent followed by tetracycline and erythromycin. Resistance to tetracycline was detected exclusively among isolates from acne patients. In conclusion, antibiotic resistance is associated with particular evolutionary clades of P. acnes and a substantial part is due to a single geographically widespread clone (ST3). Individuals carry a strikingly complex population of P. acnes with distinct virulence potential and antibiotic resistance.


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