Beyond the gut: Skin microbiome compositional changes are associated with BMI

Michael Brandwein, Idan Katz, Ariel Katz, Ron Kohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Microbiome compositional changes are associated with obesity in the gut. Emerging evidence points to a connection between gut and skin microbial communities. We hypothesized that skin microbiome compositional changes are associated with different BMI levels and that overweight or obese individuals would have reduced skin microbial diversity. We statistically analyzed gut, oral and skin microbiome samples to recapture previously observed partitioning between the microbiomes of these sites. We further analyzed 822 skin microbiome samples from the American Gut Project database and correlated BMI levels with community structure and composition using QIIME. Gut, oral and skin samples showed distinct community composition, and gut and skin microbial diversity was affected by BMI. Oral microbial diversity was not affected by BMI. Skin beta-diversity and community composition was correlated with BMI category, and Corynebacterium relative abundance was significantly correlated with BMI. In conclusion, non-cutaneous conditions affect the composition of the skin microbiome and the skin microbiome may therefore be used as a biomarker for disease manifestations beyond those with a cutaneous etiology.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100063
JournalHuman Microbiome Journal
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • American Gut Project
  • BMI
  • Human microbiome
  • Obesity
  • Skin microbiome


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