Staphylococci: Colonizers and Pathogens of Human Skin

Rosanna Coates; Josephine Moran; Malcolm J Horsburgh


Future Microbiol. 2014;9(1):75-91. 

In This Article


A major end product of epidermal cell differentiation is ceramide, an amide-linked fatty acid and sphingoid base that can be sphingosine, phytosphingosine, dihydrosphingosine and hydroxysphingosine to produce 16 isomers.[116,117] Ceramide constitutes up to 50% of stratum corneum lipids, differing in chain length and sphingoid base structure. It has important roles in skin barrier and mammalian cell physiology. On healthy skin, sphingosine is present at approximately 270 µM, whereas it is present at 140–160 µM on atopic skin.[118] S. aureus is rapidly killed by sphingosine and a similar mode of action to that of AFAs has been reported.[102] The effects of sphingosines on other staphylococci or staphylococcal resistance mechanisms to sphingosines are currently uncharacterized.