facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Harmless bacteria kills acne

Sept. 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A harmless virus living on the skin naturally seeks out and kills the bacteria that cause pimples and acne, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Dr. Robert Modlin of the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh looked at two microbes that share the name: Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium thriving in our pores that can trigger acne, and P. acnes phages, a family of viruses that live on human skin.

The viruses are harmless to humans but are programmed to infect and kill P. acnes bacteria, Modlin said.

When P. acnes bacteria aggravate the immune system, it causes the swollen, red bumps associated with acne and the effective treatment works by reducing the amount of P. acnes bacteria on the skin.

"We know that sex hormones, facial oil and the immune system play a role in causing acne; but, a lot of research implicates P. acnes as an important trigger," first author Laura Marinelli, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher in Modlin's laboratory, said in a statement. "Sometimes they set off an inflammatory response that contributes to the development of acne."

Using over-the-counter pore-cleansing strips, the researchers lifted acne bacteria and the P. acnes phages from the noses of both pimply and clear-skinned volunteers. When the team sequenced the phages' genomes, they discovered the viruses possess multiple features that make them ideal candidates for the development of a new anti-acne therapy, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the journal mBio.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Human brain can be trained to prefer healthy foods
2
Cutting carbs, not fat, key to weight loss and heart health
3
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
4
India asks Pepsi to cut down on sugar in its soft drinks
5
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback