Research Progress Related to Rosacea
Investigators at institutions across the country, many supported by the National Institutes of Health, are working to understand what causes rosacea, and to develop new treatment strategies.
Below are examples of some of the research that is being conducted.
- Higher levels of antimicrobial peptides, a normal part of the immune system, appear in skin of some people with rosacea. These peptides help combat infections, but when their levels are too high they may lead to the inflammation and redness that are typical of the condition. Scientists are investigating the role they play in the condition.
- Some studies have linked rosacea with other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. Research is underway to confirm these links and to explore the possibility of shared aspects of disease mechanisms between them.
- Some researchers are testing the possibility that rosacea happens because blood vessels expand too easily, resulting in the flushing, persistent redness and visible blood vessels that characterize the condition.
- Mites called Demodex folliculorem live harmlessly on human skin, and some studies have shown that people with rosacea have larger numbers of them or may be more sensitive to them. Scientists are exploring the role they play in the condition.
- Physicians use a wide array of medications to treat the skin and eye symptoms of rosacea. Investigators are carrying out clinical trials to compare the efficacy of various combinations of oral and topical medications on alleviating symptoms.
- Perturbations of the human microbiome, the collection of all the microbes that live in and on the human body, have been linked to a number of diseases and conditions. Early evidence points to differences in the types of microbes that populate the skin of people with rosacea, suggesting the possibility that the microbiome may play a part in the condition.
- Investigators are searching for gene variants that raise the risk of rosacea by comparing the DNA of people with the condition to healthy controls.