Jennifer Schoch, MD – University of Florida
The study sought to characterize the cutaneous microbiome in a cohort of premature infants, and explore the impact of early postnatal antibiotic exposure on the cutaneous microbiome. Bacterial colonization of both the infant gut and skin are likely critical in immune system development, though little is known about the parallel assembly of the microbiome across sites. This study built on the previous work on the impact of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiome, metabolome, and inflammatory responses in premature infants. The addition of cutaneous microbiome sampling to this existing cohort allowed for comparison between the development of the microbiome in both the skin and gut within the same subject. It also allowed the exploration the impact of antibiotic exposure on cutaneous microbial diversity and adverse outcomes including sepsis. Finally, in the event of adverse outcomes, cultured pathogenic organisms will be compared to microbial profiles of the skin and intestine to explore which site was likely breached. We hypothesized that antibiotic exposure was associated with a loss of microbial diversity across both the cutaneous and intestinal microbiome, and that these effects extend beyond the duration of the antibiotic exposure. We also suspected that the altered microbial ecology would be associated with a higher incidence of adverse outcomes, including late onset sepsis (LOS), which can be associated with a breach in the intestinal, mucosal, or cutaneous barrier.
This study was funded as a 2017 PeDRA Pilot Grant and is now complete. Final results were presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.