Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 10, 146
Involvement of the microbiome in many different scalp conditions has been investigated over the years. Studies on the role of the scalp microbiome in specific diseases, such as those involving hair growth alterations like non-cicatricial [androgenetic alopecia (AGA), alopecia areata (AA)] and cicatricial alopecia lichen planopilaris, are of major importance. In the present work, we highlighted the differences in microbial populations inhabiting the scalp of AA subjects and a healthy sample cohort by using an integrated approach relying on metagenomic targeted 16S sequencing analysis, urine metabolomics, and human marker gene expression. Significant differences in genera abundances (p < 0.05) were found in the hypodermis and especially the dermis layer. Based on 16S sequencing data, we explored the differences in predicted KEGG pathways and identified some significant differences in predicted pathways related to the AA pathologic condition such as flagellar, assembly, bacterial chemotaxis, mineral absorption, ABC transporters, cellular antigens, glycosaminoglycan degradation, lysosome, sphingolipid metabolism, cell division, protein digestion and absorption, and energy metabolism. All predicted pathways were significantly enhanced in AA samples compared to expression in healthy samples, with the exceptions of mineral absorption, and ABC transporters. We also determined the expression of TNF-α, FAS, KCNA3, NOD-2, and SOD-2 genes and explored the relationships between human gene expression levels and microbiome composition by Pearson’s correlation analysis; here, significant correlations both positive (SOD vs. Staphylococcus, Candidatus Aquiluna) and negative (FAS and SOD2 vs. Anaerococcus, Neisseria, and Acinetobacter) were highlighted. Finally, we inspected volatile organic metabolite profiles in urinary samples and detected statistically significant differences (menthol, methanethiol, dihydrodehydro-beta-ionone, 2,5-dimethylfuran, 1,2,3,4, tetrahydro-1,5,7-trimethylnapthalene) when comparing AA and healthy subject groups. This multiple comparison approach highlighted potential traits associated with AA and their relationship with the microbiota inhabiting the scalp, opening up novel therapeutic interventions in such kind of hair growth disorders mainly by means of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.
D Pinto, FM Calabrese, M De Angelis, G Celano, G Giuliani, M Gobbetti, F Rinaldi