Longitudinal Study of the Psoriasis-Associated Skin Microbiome during Therapy with Ustekinumab in a Randomized Phase 3b Clinical Trial.
The Journal of investigative dermatology. 2018;138(9):1973-1981
Plain language summary
Chronic plaque psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease of the skin and joints. A growing appreciation of the role of the innate immune system in psoriasis pathogenesis stems from the prominent role of inflammatory cytokines and cells associated with innate immunity in the disease and associations observed between psoriasis and genetic variations involved in innate immunity. The aim of this study was to assess changes of the skin microbiome in the setting of a longitudinal phase 3b study of patients receiving up to 2 years of ustekinumab therapy. Results show that prior to treatment, there were minor, body-site specific differences in microbial diversity and composition when comparing lesional with non-lesional skin. Microbial heterogeneity was greater in lesional skin than non-lesional skin. During ustekinumab treatment, the composition of microbiota diverged further between lesional and non-lesional skin across body sites. The divergence observed between lesional and non-lesional skin during ustekinumab treatment varied by body site. Authors conclude that their findings may help inform future study design and it may also have medically relevant implications for diagnostics and therapeutics involving the skin microbiome.
Plaque psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory disease primarily affecting the skin, is thought to have a multifactorial etiology, including innate immune system dysregulation, environmental triggers, and genetic susceptibility. We sought to further understand the role of skin microbiota in psoriasis pathogenesis, as well as their response to therapy. We systematically analyzed dynamic microbiota colonizing psoriasis lesions and adjacent nonlesional skin in 114 patients prior to and during ustekinumab treatment in a phase 3b clinical trial. By sequencing the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene from skin swab samples obtained at six anatomical sites, we identified minor, site-specific differences in microbial diversity and composition between pretreatment lesional and nonlesional skin. During therapy, microbial communities within lesional and nonlesional skin diverged, and body-site dispersion increased, reflecting microbial skin site-specificity. Microbiota demonstrated greater pretreatment heterogeneity in psoriatic lesions than in nonlesional skin, and variance increased as treatment progressed. Microbiota colonizing recurrent lesions did not overlap with pretreatment lesional microbiota, suggesting colonization patterns varied between initial and recurrent psoriatic lesions. While plaque psoriasis does not appear to be associated with specific microbes and/or microbial diversity, this large dataset provides insight into microbial variation associated with (i) disease in different body locations, (ii) initial versus recurrent lesions, and (iii) anti-IL12/23 therapy.