Propionibacterium acnes: from commensal to opportunistic biofilm-associated implant pathogen.

January 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Clin Microbiol Rev. 2014 Jul;27(3):419-40.

Achermann Y1, Goldstein EJ2, Coenye T3, Shirtliff ME4.

Author information

1Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Dental School, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

2R. M. Alden Research Laboratory, Santa Monica, CA, USA, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA.

3Laboratorium voor Farmaceutische Microbiologie, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

4Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Dental School, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Propionibacterium acnes is known primarily as a skin commensal. However, it can present as an opportunistic pathogen via bacterial seeding to cause invasive infections such as implant-associated infections. These infections have gained more attention due to improved diagnostic procedures, such as sonication of explanted foreign materials and prolonged cultivation time of up to 14 days for periprosthetic biopsy specimens, and improved molecular methods, such as broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR. Implant-associated infections caused by P. acnes are most often described for shoulder prosthetic joint infections as well as cerebrovascular shunt infections, fibrosis of breast implants, and infections of cardiovascular devices. P. acnes causes disease through a number of virulence factors, such as biofilm formation. P. acnes is highly susceptible to a wide range of antibiotics, including beta-lactams, quinolones, clindamycin, and rifampin, although resistance to clindamycin is increasing. Treatment requires a combination of surgery and a prolonged antibiotic treatment regimen to successfully eliminate the remaining bacteria. Most authors suggest a course of 3 to 6 months of antibiotic treatment, including 2 to 6 weeks of intravenous treatment with a beta-lactam. While recently reported data showed a good efficacy of rifampin against P. acnes biofilms, prospective, randomized, controlled studies are needed to confirm evidence for combination treatment with rifampin, as has been performed for staphylococcal implant-associated infections.



Entry filed under: Antimicrobianos, Bacterias, Bacteriemias, Biología Molecular, Epidemiología, FIEBRE en el POSTOPERATORIO, Health Care-Associated Infections, Infecciones en piel y tej blandos, Infecciones nosocomiales, Infecciones osteo-articulares-musculares, Infecciones relacionadas a prótesis, Infecciones sitio quirurgico, Metodos diagnosticos, REVIEWS, Sepsis, Update.

Risk of transmission of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and related “superbugs” during gastrointestinal endoscopy. Unexpected positive cultures including isolation of Propionibacterium acnes in revision shoulder arthroplasty.


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