Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD: Takeaways from Presentation on HS and the Skin Microbiome

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This interview segment with Dr. Harris-Tryon further explored some of the key points made in her upcoming talk regarding the microbiology of hidradenitis suppurativa.

In another segment of her interview with HCPLive, Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD, spoke with the editorial team on her upcoming presentation’s biggest takeaways as well as current research regarding the microbiology of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

Harris-Tryon, who serves as an associate professor for the Department of Dermatology for UT Southwestern Medical Center, is slated to speak at the 8th Annual Symposium on Hidradenitis Suppurativa Advances (SHSA) in Phoenix, Arizona (October 13 - 15).

In this discussion, Harris-Tryon elaborated on some of the biggest takeaways from her presentation from the SHSA conference.

“The major thing to take home is number one, the skin is colonized by these microbes based on the ecology,” she explained. “So the ecology of the skin is a major driver of the microbiome, and oily places on your skin like your forehead, upper chest, and upper back have a certain signature of microbes that like to live on oils, moist areas of your body.”

Harris-Tryon further noted that the ecological landscape is a major driver of the microbiome.

“And then a second major piece is that these microbes have a ton of functions,” she said. “They're making enzymes and small molecules, and that interaction actually has a big impact on the cross talk, or the communication between microbes in the host, and therefore a big impact on the immune system.”

Thirdly, Harris-Tryon discussed research regarding mice that are given healthy, balanced, and fiber-rich diets with fats and proteins. In these experiments, she notes that the mice were put on a high sucrose, no fat diet.

“We see reproducible shifts in a microbiome,” Harris-Tryon said. “And we can track that over time. We don't know everything about what drives that or why that happens. But we can show that it does happen, and I think it's very meaningful.”

Harris-Tryon also explored the topic of current and in-development research on HS.

“I think the most important thing to share is that there's so much we don't know about what our skin is making at the skin surface, and how that impacts microbes,” she explained. “So whenever we have a condition that is treated with antibiotics like HS where one big arm of how we treat this is with antimicrobials, we should be thinking to ourselves, what is it in the skin? What is the skin of that person making that's allowing these microbes that we don't typically see on the skin surface to be thriving?”

For her team’s lab, Harris-Tryon explained that some researchers are involved in the question of what has changed ecologically which has allowed this niche of HS to develop, allowing microbes to persist there.

For further information on Harris-Tryon’s presentation, view the full interview segment above.

The quotes contained here were edited for the purposes of clarity.