Individual and household attributes influence the dynamics of the personal skin microbiota and its association network

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

17 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationMicrobiome
Issue number1
Online published8 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018



Background: Numerous studies have thus far characterized the temporal dynamics of the skin microbiota of healthy individuals. However, there is no information regarding the dynamics of different microbial association network properties. Also, there is little understanding of how living conditions, specifically cohabitation and household occupancy, may be associated with the nature and extent (or degree) of cutaneous microbiota change within individuals over time. In this study, the dynamics of the skin microbiota, and its association networks, on the skin of urban residents over four seasons were characterized. 
Results: Similar to western cohorts, the individuals of this cohort show different extents of variations in relative abundance of common skin colonizers, concomitant with individual- and household-associated changes in differential abundances of bacterial taxa. Interestingly, the individualized nature of the skin microbiota extends to various aspects of microbial association networks, including co-occurring and excluding taxa, as well as overall network structural properties. Household occupancy is correlated with the extent of variations in relative abundance of Propionibacterium, Acinetobacter, and Bacillus over multiple skin sites. In addition, household occupancy is also associated with the extent of temporal changes in microbial diversity and composition within a resident's skin. 
Conclusions: This is the first study investigating the potential roles household occupancy has on the extent of change in one's cutaneous microbiota and its association network structures. In particular, we show that relationships between the skin microbiota of a resident, his/her cohabitants, and those of non-cohabitants over time are highly personal and are possibly governed by living conditions and nature of interactions between cohabitants within households over 1 year. This study calls for increased awareness to personal and lifestyle factors that may govern relationships between the skin microbiota of one individual and those of cohabitants, and changes in the microbial association network structures within a person over time. The current study will act as a baseline for future assessments in comparing against temporal dynamics of microbiota from individuals with different skin conditions and for identifying residential factors that are beneficial in promoting the dynamics of the skin microbiota associated with health.

Research Area(s)

Download Statistics

No data available