Previously, we isolated lactic acid bacteria from the slime of the garden snail Helix aspersa Müller and selected Weissella viridescens UCO-SMC3 because of its ability to inhibit in vitro the growth of the skin-associated pathogen Cutibacterium acnes. The present study aimed to characterize the antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties of W. viridescens UCO-SMC3 and to demonstrate its beneficial effect in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Our in vitro studies showed that the UCO-SMC3 strain resists adverse gastrointestinal conditions, inhibits the growth of clinical isolates of C. acnes, and reduces the adhesion of the pathogen to keratinocytes. Furthermore, in vivo studies in a mice model of C. acnes infection demonstrated that W. viridescens UCO-SMC3 beneficially modulates the immune response against the skin pathogen. Both the oral and topical administration of the UCO-SCM3 strain was capable of reducing the replication of C. acnes in skin lesions and beneficially modulating the inflammatory response. Of note, orally administered W. viridescens UCO-SMC3 induced more remarkable changes in the immune response to C. acnes than the topical treatment. However, the topical administration of W. viridescens UCO-SMC3 was more efficient than the oral treatment to reduce pathogen bacterial loads in the skin, and effects probably related to its ability to inhibit and antagonize the adhesion of C. acnes. Furthermore, a pilot study in acne volunteers demonstrated the capacity of a facial cream containing the UCO-SMC3 strain to reduce acne lesions. The results presented here encourage further mechanistic and clinical investigations to characterize W. viridescens UCO-SMC3 as a probiotic for acne vulgaris treatment.
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