Biofilm formation by Propionibacterium acnes is associated with increased resistance to antimicrobial agents and increased production of putative virulence factors.

Research paper by Tom T Coenye, Elke E Peeters, Hans J HJ Nelis

Indexed on: 03 Apr '07Published on: 03 Apr '07Published in: Research in Microbiology


Propionibacterium acnes plays an important role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris, a common disorder of the pilosebaceous follicles. Recently, it was suggested that P. acnes cells residing within the follicles grow as a biofilm. In the present study, we tested the biofilm-forming ability of several P. acnes strains in a microtiter plate model. We also evaluated the resistance of biofilm-grown P. acnes towards antimicrobial agents commonly used in the treatment of acne and the production of putative virulence factors. Our results indicate that P. acnes can form biofilms in vitro. The results also show that sessile P. acnes cells are more resistant to various commonly used antimicrobial agents than planktonic cells. In addition, sessile cells produce more extracellular lipases as well as significant amounts of the quorum-sensing molecule autoinducer-2.