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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 436921, 6 pages
Review Article

Microbiota in Healthy Skin and in Atopic Eczema

1National Health System Pediatrician ASL RMC-D6, Rome, Italy
2Italian Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology (SIAIP), Atopic Dermatitis and Urticaria Committee, Italy
3Pediatric Unit, Department of Clinical-Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
4Department of Reproduction and Pediatrics, University Hospital S. Anna, Ferrara, Italy
5Pediatric Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
6University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
7Department of Woman, Child and General and Specialized Surgery, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy
8Pediatric Allergy Unit, Research Center, San Pietro Hospital-Fatebenefratelli, Rome, Italy

Received 10 March 2014; Revised 9 June 2014; Accepted 17 June 2014; Published 13 July 2014

Academic Editor: Siddharth Pratap

Copyright © 2014 Giuseppe Baviera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Italian interest group (IG) on atopic eczema and urticaria is member of the Italian Society of Allergology and Immunology. The aim of our IG is to provide a platform for scientists, clinicians, and experts. In this review we discuss the role of skin microbiota not only in healthy skin but also in skin suffering from atopic dermatitis (AD). A Medline and Embase search was conducted for studies evaluating the role of skin microbiota. We examine microbiota composition and its development within days after birth; we describe the role of specific groups of microorganisms that colonize distinct anatomical niches and the biology and clinical relevance of antimicrobial peptides expressed in the skin. Specific AD disease states are characterized by concurrent and anticorrelated shifts in microbial diversity and proportion of Staphylococcus. These organisms may protect the host, defining them not as simple symbiotic microbes but rather as mutualistic microbes. These findings reveal links between microbial communities and inflammatory diseases such as AD and provide novel insights into global shifts of bacteria relevant to disease progression and treatment. This review also highlights recent observations on the importance of innate immune systems and the relationship with normal skin microflora for the maintenance of healthy skin.