New research funded by the National Rosacea Society has found that certain molecular receptors and their activators may play a significant role in producing the redness, visible blood vessels and inflammation of rosacea.
A receptor is a structure in human cells that binds with particular activating substances in the body to trigger certain reactions or responses. Dysfunction of receptors often leads to disease. Accordingly, identification of the mechanisms of these processes, which may then be adjusted, often leads to important therapeutic advances.
Dr. Martin Steinhoff and Dr. Thomas Luger, of the department of dermatology at the University of Muenster in Germany, examined how proteinase-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) may affect endothelial cell function in rosacea skin. PAR-2 can serve as a receptor for several molecules, including dust mite antigens and bacterial proteases, which have a high impact on inflammatory response in the skin.
In scientific terms, PAR-2 agonists were found to cause erythema and vasodilation in human skin in in vivo studies, indicating a functional role for PAR-2 in human cutaneous blood vessel formation. Dr. Steinhoff and Dr. Luger also demonstrated that PAR-2 plays an important role in leukocyte adhesion to endothelial cells in the skin of mice. Moreover, in studying the effects of PAR-2 agonists on keratinocyte function, it was found that PAR-2 activates NFkB in humans, indicating a potential important role of this receptor in skin inflammation.