(HealthDay News) — Vitamin B12 modulates the transcriptional activities of skin bacteria, and supplementation of the vitamin promotes production of inflammatory porphyrins, suggesting a novel bacterial pathogenesis pathway in acne, according to new research. The findings were published in the June 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
Huiying Li, PhD, assistant professor of molecular & medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues found that the B12 biosynthesis pathway in the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes was significantly down-regulated in acne patients.
The researchers then analyzed skin samples from 10 people without acne who were told to begin taking vitamin B12 supplements. The team found that supplementation repressed the expression of vitamin B12 biosynthesis genes in P. acnes and altered the transcriptome of the skin microbiota. One person subsequently developed acne within one week of supplementation.
“Vitamin B12 supplementation in P. acnes cultures promoted the production of porphyrins, which have been shown to induce inflammation in acne,” the authors write. “Our findings suggest a new bacterial pathogenesis pathway in acne and provide one molecular explanation for the long-standing clinical observation that vitamin B12 supplementation leads to acne development in a subset of individuals.”