Culture characterization of the skin microbiome in Type 2 diabetes mellitus: A focus on the role of innate immunity

Akshay Thimmappaiah Jagadeesh, Peralam Yegneswaran Prakash, N. Karthik Rao, V. Ramya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aims The current study aimed at determining the differences between the cutaneous microbial flora of patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and those without, and thus evaluate for cutaneous microbiome dysbiosis in diabetes. Methods We employed a case-control study design with 41 participants in each group. The skin over the toe-web space was swabbed and cultured aerobically. Data was analyzed for differences in microbial prevalences and growths between the two groups. Predictors for heavy colonization by microbes were analysed using logistic regression. Results We found significantly higher prevalences of Staphylococcus epidermidis among patients with T2DM (77.5% vs. 53.7%, p = 0.02). Further, when prevalent, these bacteria showed a significantly greater degree of skin colonization i.e. CFUs/cm2 among these patients, p = 0.03. Highly pathogenic bacteria such as S. aureus were more prevalent among patients with T2DM. The regression model determined a significant association between T2DM status and heavy colonization by S. epidermidis (OR – 5.40, p = 0.02). Also, agricultural workers were significantly more likely to have heavy colonization by S. epidermidis (OR – 3.75, p = 0.02). Other predictor variables did not show significant association with heavy colonization by any of the isolated microbes. Conclusions Our findings support the existence of cutaneous microbiome dysbiosis among patients with T2DM. Literature suggests that microbiome dybiosis in T2DM could stem from the same activated innate immune response that is thought to be central to the development of T2DM. This dysbiosis could increase the risk of developing skin infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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