Commensal microbes on the skin surface influence the behavior of cells below the epidermis. We hypothesized that bacteria or their products exist below the surface epithelium and thus permit physical interaction between microbes and dermal cells. Here, to test this hypothesis, we employed multiple independent detection techniques for bacteria including qPCR, Gram-staining, immunofluorescence, and in situ hybridization. Bacteria were consistently detectable within the dermis and dermal adipose of normal human skin. Sequencing of DNA from dermis and dermal adipose tissue identified bacterial 16S rRNA reflective of a diverse and partially distinct microbial community in each skin compartment. These results show the microbiota extends within the dermis, therefore enabling physical contact between bacteria and various cells below the basement membrane. These observations show that normal commensal bacterial communities directly communicate with the host in a tissue previously thought to be sterile.
To access to full article: The microbiome extends to subepidermal compartments of normal skin (Image from the article)