Could Acne Cause Sarcoidosis?

According to, acne causing bacteria may be the culprit in sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs and lymph nodes.
Sarcoidosis can cause flu-like symptoms, weight loss, coughing and shortness of breath. It’s the result of granulomas collecting in various parts of the body, but typically in the lymph nodes, lungs, eyes and skin. To learn more about sarcoidosis, click here.

In the study found in Respiratory Research, researchers found Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, in the lymph nodes of sarcoidosis patients. Additional studies will need to be done in order to understand why the bacteria that is normally found on the skin can cause sarcoidosis.

Researchers at Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital and Tongii University School of Medicine in China studied the 16SrRNA gene, a gene that only occurs in bacteria. The 16SrRNA gene sequence differs among bacterial species. Therefore, the gene can be utilized to identify different bacterial types.

This study included seventeen sarcoidosis patients, eight tuberculosis patients and eleven patients with other lung diseases. The gene sequencing showed 545 different types of bacteria among the patients.

In all of the 17 sarcoidosis patients, Propionibacterium acnes was found. It was not found in the other 19 patients.

A different species of propionibacteria was found in five of the sarcoidosis patients, but was not found in the other study participants. Other types of bacteria were found between the groups. But, there was no bacterial species that was was found ONLY among the sarciodosis patients.

The researchers are still collecting tissue samples from sarcoidosis patients at varying stages of disease in order to determine the link between the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria and sarcoidosis.

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