Protein Secreted by Common Skin Bacteria May Offer New Answers to Treatment of Skin Diseases

By Nicole Loranger

In a recent study conducted at Lund University in Sweden, a common skin bacterium has been discovered to offer human skin cells protection from various diseases. The bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, was already known to be found on the skin, however what is new to the science world is RoxP, a protein it secretes that appears to protect skin cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause a number of diseases, including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. These reactive oxygen species cause oxidative damage as a result of exposure to UV rays; but if this symbiotic relationship with P. acnes really can combat these effects, then we may begin to see sunscreens and treatments begin to incorporate the RoxP protein. According to researcher Rolf Lood, next steps include investigations in both patients and animals. The patient trials will be looking closely at three groups of people; one group with basal cell carcinoma, one group with pre-cancerous actinic keratosis, and a third group of healthy individuals. These patients will be tested for their RoxP levels, which will help determine if there exists a correlation between RoxP levels on the skin and skin health. Meanwhile, animal trials composed of two groups of mice, one treated with RoxP and one control, will help to determine whether the presence of RoxP can alter the effects of UV rays on skin.


Lund University. "Skin bacteria could protect against disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2016. <>.