Pranab Mukherjee, PhD – Case Western Reserve University
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a complex disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It has many contributing factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and the microbiome.
A recent pilot study has suggested that Halomonas species were abundant on the skin of AD patients. This unexpected, saline-loving organism led to the speculation that increased skin salinity may allow proliferation of microbes that promote itch. The objective of this study is to further examine the relationship of itching after perspiration with changes in the microbiome. Itching with perspiration is a common symptom reported in some but not all AD patients. This may be a clue to identify patients where the microbiome provokes an immune response resulting in itch. We hypothesize that the abundance of Halomonas on the skin of AD patients who itch with perspiration is higher than that of AD patients who do not itch with perspiration.
The second objective of this study is to compare microbiome and mycobiome variations in AD patients versus controls, and how this differs in adults and children. Recent literature shows that the mycobiome of children’s skin changes during puberty to become more similar to adult skin, however the microbiome and mycobiome of children with and without AD are not well understood. In our study, we compare the microbiome and mycobiome of the skin of children compared to adults with AD, and compared to that of children without AD, to see if there are different organisms that drive AD in children.
This study was funded as a 2017 PeDRA Pilot Grant and has concluded with plans to pursue related research questions in future.