Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Cutibacterium acnes is an intracellular and intra-articular commensal of the human shoulder joint

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


  • Robert Hudek, Rhön-Klinikum Campus Bad Neustadt
  • ,
  • Alexander Brobeil, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • ,
  • Holger Brüggemann
  • Frank Sommer, Phillipps-University Marburg
  • ,
  • Stefan Gattenlöhner, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • ,
  • Frank Gohlke, Rhön-Klinikum Campus Bad Neustadt

Background: Cutibacterium acnes (C acnes) is a mysterious member of the shoulder microbiome and is associated with chronic postoperative complications and low-grade infections. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether it represents a contaminant or whether it accounts for true infections. Because it can persist intracellularly in macrophages at several body sites, it might in fact be an intra-articular commensal of the shoulder joint.

Methods: In 23 consecutive, otherwise healthy patients (17 male, 6 female; 58 years) who had no previous injections, multiple specimens were taken from the intra-articular tissue during first-time arthroscopic and open shoulder surgery. The samples were investigated by cultivation, genetic phylotyping, and immunohistochemistry using C acnes-specific antibodies and confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Results: In 10 patients (43.5%), cultures were C acnes-positive. Phylotype IA1 dominated the subcutaneous samples (71%), whereas type II dominated the deep tissue samples (57%). Sixteen of 23 patients (69.6%) were C acnes-positive by immunohistochemistry; in total, 25 of 40 samples were positive (62.5%). Overall, 56.3% of glenohumeral immunohistochemical samples, 62.5% of subacromial samples, and 75% of acromioclavicular (AC) joint samples were positive. In 62.5% of the tested patients, C acnes was detected immunohistochemically to reside intracellularly within stromal cells and macrophages.

Discussion: These data indicate that C acnes is a commensal of the human shoulder joint, where it persists within macrophages and stromal cells. Compared with culture-based methods, immunohistochemical staining can increase C acnes detection. Phylotype II seems to be most prevalent in the deep shoulder tissue. The high detection rate of C acnes in osteoarthritic AC joints might link its intra-articular presence to the initiation of osteoarthritis. (C) 2020 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees. All rights reserved.

TidsskriftJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Sider (fra-til)16-26
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021

Se relationer på Aarhus Universitet Citationsformater

ID: 193795590