Comprehensive skin microbiome analysis reveals the uniqueness of human skin and evidence for phylosymbiosis within the class Mammalia

Skin forms a critical protective barrier between a mammal and its external environment. Baseline data on the mammalian skin microbiome elucidates which microorganisms are found on healthy skin and provides insight into mammalian evolutionary history. To our knowledge, this study represents the largest existing mammalian skin microbiome survey. Our findings demonstrate that human skin is distinct, not only from other Primates, but from all 10 mammalian orders sampled. Identifying significant similarities between branching of mammalian phylogenetic trees and relatedness trees for their corresponding microbial communities raises the possibility that mammals have experienced coevolution between skin microbiota and their corresponding host species.

Skin is the largest organ of the body and represents the primary physical barrier between mammals and their external environment, yet the factors that govern skin microbial community composition among mammals are poorly understood. The objective of this research was to generate a skin microbiota baseline for members of the class Mammalia, testing the effects of host species, geographic location, body region, and biological sex. Skin from the back, torso, and inner thighs of 177 nonhuman mammals was sampled, representing individuals from 38 species and 10 mammalian orders. Animals were sampled from farms, zoos, households, and the wild. The DNA extracts from all skin swabs were amplified by PCR and sequenced, targeting the V3-V4 regions of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes. Previously published skin microbiome data from 20 human participants, sampled and sequenced using an identical protocol to the nonhuman mammals, were included to make this a comprehensive analysis. Human skin microbial communities were distinct and significantly less diverse than all other sampled mammalian orders. The factor most strongly associated with microbial community data for all samples was whether the host was a human. Within nonhuman samples, host taxonomic order was the most significant factor influencing skin microbiota, followed by the geographic location of the habitat. By comparing the congruence between host phylogeny and microbial community dendrograms, we observed that Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates) and Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates) had significant congruence, providing evidence of phylosymbiosis between skin microbial communities and their hosts.

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Prof. Dr. med Jean Krutmann was awarded for his scientific achievements

During the 9th International Conference on Skin Challenges held in February 26-27, 2018, the Scientific Committee awarded Prof. Dr. med. Jean Krutmann, director of IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine at Düsseldorf, Germany for all his scientific achievements in the field of skin.

Prof. Dr. med. Krutmann gave a strategic presentation about “What’s new in extrinsic skin aging research? State of the art”. He highlighted the mechanisms through which air pollutants cause skin hyperpigmentation and he designed the way to claim anti-pollution ingredients for cosmetic products. For the scientific committee, Prof. Dr. med. Krutmann is a pioneer and vanguardist dermatologist. He actively participated to create new innovations in the field of skin protection and translated all his basic research into practical applications.

About Prof. Dr. med. Jean Krutmann: 
Jean Krutmann was born in 1959 in Menden, Germany, and obtained his MD from the University of Münster in 1986. After several stays abroad (postdoc at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA and DFG stipend at the University Hospital for Dermatology in Vienna, Austria) he became resident, assistant/associate professor at the University Hospital for Dermatology of Freiburg.
From 1994 until 2001 he was full professor/deputy director of the University Hospital for Dermatology Düsseldorf.
In 2001 he was appointed Chair of Environmental Medicine at the Medical Faculty of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and thereby also Director of IUF. Under his directorship in 2011 the institute became a member of the Leibniz Association and was renamed IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine.

His research focuses on dermatoxicology, immunodermatology and photodermatology with a special emphasis on environmentally-induced skin diseases and skin aging.
He is author/coauthor of more than 400 contributions to scientific journals and books as well as editor of 9 textbooks.

Jean Krutmann was awarded several national and international prizes: Arnold Rikli Award, Albrecht Fleckenstein Award, Paul Gerson Unna Award, Oscar Gans Award, CE.R.I.E.S. Research Support Award and the Dermopharmacy Innovation Award. Since 2010, he is member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Science. Since 2012, he is speaker of the Leibniz Research Alliance “Healthy Ageing”. Additionally, he is Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and Senior Visiting Professor of the Human Phenome Institute of Fudan University.

Skin microbiota & epithelial barrier: the scientific contribution awarded Dr Katharina Bitschar

Dr Katharina Bitschar from the University of Tübingen, Germany was awarded for her scientific contribution and here studies related to the skin microbiota & epithelial barrier.

Dr Bitschar’s testimonial: “It is a great honor for me to be awarded by the ISANH for my scientific contribution. My work is about how the commensal Staphylococcus epidermidis influences skin colonization with the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Our results show that S. epidermidis protects the skin from S. aureus infection. Interestingly, this protective effect could not be reproduced in vivo when the skin barrier was compromised by repeated tape-stripping. Therefore, we conclude that commensal-induced skin protection is highly dependent on the integrity of the epithelial barrier. Further analysis of the protective mechanisms revealed that this protective effect is partially mediated by IL-1 receptor signaling pathways. The international conference of skin ageing and challenges represents a great opportunity to exchange new concepts and share the latest developments in the field of skin microbiome research. I particularly enjoyed discussing potential future applications of skin microbiota with leading industry partners and other scientists.”

Dr Bitschar will present the updated of this study during the next Skin Challenges Congress which will be held in 2019. More information soon on




Biodegradeble nanoparticles as topical drug delivery into hair follicels awarded for the best poster of Porto Skin Challenges 2018

Nethanel Friedman from the Laboratory of Dr Ofra Benny at the Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem was awarded for his poster presentation and his studies about Biodegradeble nanoparticles as topical drug delivery into hair follicels presented during Porto Skin Challenges Congress 2018.

The poster of Mr Friedman highlighted the penetration and delivery of drugs into the deepest dermal layers. In his work, he developed an improved drug delivery system based on biodegradable nanoparticles targeting the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Accumulation of particles loaded with drug in the deepest layers of the follicles has a great potential to serve as an efficient tool for topical drug delivery in many diseases.

According to him: “Skin Challenges 2018” has been a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to the most updated and innovative research in the field of skin ageing.
International gathering of leading scientists from academy and industry that are working on skin challenges, provides a great platform to meet with colleagues in the field and to initiate new collaborations.
The event was very enjoyable and well organized. I am looking forward to participate in the meeting next year.”

The Scientific Committee awarded the French company Greentech for their industrial innovation.

During the 9th International Conference on Skin Challenges held in February 26-27, 2018, the Scientific Committee awarded the French company Greentech for their industrial innovation.
Greentech was selected for this award not only because they actively participated to Porto SKin Challenges 2018, but they also shared their innovations, vision and strategies with academics and other industrials with full transparency.
The scientific committee stated: “Greentech removed the barrers between industries and academics, and allowed to have a constructive scientific exchange”.
According to Prof. Edith Filaire and Greentech team: “The congress was very interesting, rich in high-level and up to date scientific presentations ranging from interventions on the latest data related to aging and exposome, and to the relationship between microbiota and its role in the skin. The congress brings together public and private researchers who had opportunity to discuss and exchange about cosmetic applications of presented basic results. After each session, discussion was very intense between researchers. It was a nice challenge for private researchers to be confronted with academic research.”
About Greentech:
For 25 years, the Biotech company GREENTECH is developing active ingredients for cosmetic and delivers customers in more than 40 countries in the world. The company has subsidiaries in US (GREENTECH US), in Germany (GREENTECH GmbH) and now in Brazil (MAPRIC, 35 years local company producing ingredients from brasilian plants for cosmetics, pharmacy and nutraceuticals). The raw materials used by GREENTECH Group are plants, seaweeds and algae (thanks to her subsidiary GREENSEA) and micro-organisms (thanks to her subsidiary BIOVITIS). The success of the companies is due to proximity and service supplied to customers but also to continuous and dynamic innovation process in concepts and also in sciences. GREENTECH has developed a sustainable network of sourcing with local and faithful local producers in many countries, who allows GREENTECH to have quality raw materials
Greentech has developed a powerful anti-pollution skin protector, URBALYS® using an extract from berries concentrate in lignans. The active ingredient stimulates central barrier functions to fight the negative effects of pollution. Indeed, URBALYS® is a powerful global anti-pollution skin protector with 4 global actions to protect skin from pollutants. 1) It protects at molecular level by activating genes implicated in redox balance, detoxification and skin barrier integrity 2) it protects at cellular level by limiting the induction of the inflammation and by limiting the overproduction of ROS and then, by modulating the cellular defences and maintaining the redox balance 3) It protects at tissular level by strengthening the cutaneous barrier and maintaining the dermis integrity 4) At organ level, URBALYS® protects from prolonged pollution aggression since it improves hydration, protects skin homogeneity, increases skin radiance and luminosity and attenuates skin spot intensity after 21 days of pollution exposition.

Final Agenda & Remarks of Porto Skin Challenges 2018

We asked the chairmen of the scientific committee about the challenges they want to present during the meeting.

Prof. Marvin Edeas, Université Paris Descartes, INSERM, Paris, France et Prof. Jean-François Doré, INSERM Lyon, France commented: “We tried to prepare and invite different experts who will highlight different axes and topics. We tried to open a door that we can call today “new technologies”.

According to Prof. Edeas, “We need to initiate a new kind of thinking in terms of strategies to prevent, treat and regenerate skin. When we talk about skin, we talk about the first barrier of our body, mind, perception and emotion.”

According to Prof. Doré, “We will talk about the recent mechanisms, cellular and molecular effects and metabolism. Also the impact of external factors. The new generation of natural ingredients will be also presented.”

What is the originality of Skin Challenges 2018?

For Prof. Marvin Edeas, “we tried to put over the table new players and strategic actors that we strongly think that they will play a strategic role to design the future of not only skin, but all our health.

New player 1: Skin Microbiota
We will talk about microbiota and its strategic role to maintain skin integrity. How to modulate the quality and diversity of skin microbiota?

New player 2: Skin Olfactory Receptors
How to modulate these receptors?
What kind of agonists?
What are their strategic roles in skin and other organs?

New player 3: Skin, Smell & New Technologies
We will talk about digital aroma (scent) which can activate olfactory receptors. We will highlight the role of sniff-camera to detect and analyse the quality of skin.
We will open the door to a new field which is the “digital olfaction”.

Skin Challenges Congress will be held in Porto in February 25-27, 2018. 

For more information:

The Abstracts Book of Skin Ageing & Challenges is available

The Abstracts book of Skin  Ageing & Challenges 2018 is available. You can find abstracts of Oral & Poster presentations in the Abstracts book.

If you are not an attendee of the conference, you can order the abstracts book in PDF format.


Targeting olfactory receptors by agonists, aromas, microbiota or digital scents : Myth or Reality?

Prof. Marvin Edeas from University of Paris Descartes, INSERM 1016, Institut Cochin, Paris, France will give a strategic presentation about the  “Targeting olfactory receptors by agonists, aromas, microbiota or digital scents : Myth or Reality?” during  Porto Skin Ageing & Challenges Congress 2018.

According to Prof. Marvin Edeas:

The olfactory receptor (OR) is the first protein that recognizes odorants in the olfactory signal pathway and it is present in over 1,000 genes. Olfactory receptors are G protein-coupled receptors which serve important sensory functions beyond their role as odorant detectors in the olfactory epithelium. Olfactory receptors detect volatile chemicals that lead to the initial perception of smell in the brain. 

Most ORs are extensively expressed in the nasal olfactory epithelium where they perform the appropriate physiological functions that fit their location.

However, recent whole-genome sequencing shows that ORs have been found outside of the olfactory system, suggesting that ORs may play an important role in the ectopic expression of non-chemosensory tissues.

The ectopic expressions of ORs and their physiological functions have attracted more attention recently since MOR23 and testicular hOR17-4 have been found to be involved in skeletal muscle development, regeneration, and human sperm chemotaxis, respectively. Olfr1393, as a regulator of renal glucose handling, is specifically expressed in the kidney proximal tubule, which is the site of renal glucose reabsorption. Olfr1393 knockout mice exhibit urinary glucose wasting and improved glucose tolerance, despite euglycemia and normal insulin levels.

As the outermost barrier of the body, the skin is exposed to multiple environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, mechanical stress, and chemical stimuli such as odorants. Keratinocytes, the major cell type of the epidermal layer, express a variety of different sensory receptors that enable them to react to various environmental stimuli and process information in the skin. Recently, the identification of a novel type of chemoreceptors in human keratinocytes, the olfactory receptors OR2AT4, and identified Sandalore, a synthetic sandalwood odorant, as an agonist of this receptor. Sandalore induces strong Ca(2+) signals in cultured human keratinocytes, which are mediated by OR2AT4, as demonstrated by receptor knockdown experiments using RNA interference. The activation of OR2AT4 induces a cAMP-dependent pathway and phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (Erk1/2) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (p38 MAPK). Moreover, the long-term stimulation of keratinocytes with Sandalore positively affected cell proliferation and migration, and regeneration of keratinocyte monolayers in an in vitro wound scratch assay. OR 2AT4 is involved in human keratinocyte re-epithelialization during wound-healing processes.

The Gut Microbiota and Olfactory Receptors are one of the intriguing phenomenons. How Gut microbiota communicate with the brain, skin, kidney, liver…? How they activate OR? What kind of agonist? This is one of questions which will be discussed.

The Digital Olfaction science needs the understanding of how to activate and modulate these multi-locations ORs. Why our nose is everywhere? Can a Digital aroma activate skin OR? A multi-disciplinary collaboration is urgently needed between experts of olfactory receptors and the digital science.

Finally, a strategic question is how digital olfaction world will establish non-verbal communication between us (our Olfactory Receptors) and the artificial systems (robots, connected devices…)?

Special Topic on Sniff-Camera: a gas-imaging system of dermal volatiles for skin condition and ageing analysis

Prof. Kohji Mitsubayashi, from the Department of Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation at Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan will give a strategic presentation about the Gas-imaging system (SNIFF-CAM) of dermal volatiles for skin condition and aging analysis during Porto Skin Ageing & Challenges Congress 2018.

In his presentation, Prof. Mitsubayashi  will explain how his team was able to image the ethanol vapor contained in the transdermal vapor emitted from the palm, and confirmed the spreading of the ethanol emissions across the palm. The system presented can would be applied for detailed evaluation of the skin condition and measurement of skin aging odor.

To know more about this study, don’t hesitate to join the attendees of Porto Skin Challenges 2018 via