Understanding the impact of spinal cord injury on the microbiota of healthy skin and pressure injuries.

Wettstein, Reto; Valido, Ezra; Buergin, Joel; Haumer, Alexander; Speck, Nicole; Capossela, Simona; Stoyanov, Jivko; Bertolo, Alessandro (2023). Understanding the impact of spinal cord injury on the microbiota of healthy skin and pressure injuries. Scientific Reports, 13(1), p. 12540. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41598-023-39519-2

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Pressure injuries (PI) are a common issue among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), especially in the sitting areas of the body. Considering the risk of infections occurring to PI during the wound healing process, the skin microbiome is likely to be a source of bacteria. We investigated the relationship between skin and PI microbiomes, and assessed any correlation with clinically relevant outcomes related to PI. Samples were isolated from SCI patients undergoing reconstructive surgery of PI, severity grades III and IV. DNA samples from skin and PI were analysed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Our results showed disparities in microbiome composition between skin and PI. The skin had lower diversity, while PI showed increased bacterial homogeneity as the severity grade progressed. The skin bacterial composition varied based on its location, influenced by Cutibacterium. Compositional differences were identified between PI grades III and IV, with clusters of bacteria colonizing PI, characterized by Pseudomonas, Proteus and Peptoniphilus. The skin and PI microbiomes were not affected by the level of the SCI. Our study highlights the differences in the microbiome of skin and PI in SCI patients. These findings could be used to target specific bacteria for PI treatment in clinical practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Stoyanov, Jivko, Bertolo, Alessandro


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Nature Publishing Group


[223] Swiss Paraplegic Foundation = Schweizer Paraplegiker-Stiftung




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

03 Aug 2023 11:16

Last Modified:

20 Aug 2023 02:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Additional Information:

Wettstein and Valido contributed equally to this work.





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