Acne – More Than A Skin Condition

Published:January 10th, 2011

Propionibacterium acnes is a slow growing, gram positive bacterium which has been linked to the the skin condition to which it gives its name. It is part of the skin flora on most people’s skin, living on fatty acids in the sebaceous glands. It can be found in the gastrointestinal tract as well.

Recent research showed that Propionibacterium acnes that is already in our bodies can be the cause of various infections. When found in the blood or tissue swabs, the bug can be the cause of diseases that were previously attributed to other causes. Wrong diagnosis can lead to complications of such infections, as the treatment is targeted towards the wrong bug.

Infections with P. acnes should not be overlooked as they may be associated with artificial joints and heart valves, and even eye infections or chest infections. Although Propionibacterium acnes infection is commonly associated with common acne, the bug can slowly grow inside the body cells and also on the surface of medical devices implanted in the body. Studies have shown that it can be involved in other conditions such as prostate cancer.

Professor Peter Lambert of Aston University focused on Propionibacterium acnes as the bacterium responsible for a wide array of infections for the Denver Russell Memorial Lecture in January 2011.

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