A possible genetic link found in twins with rosacea and increased understanding of biochemical processes that may lead to the disorder are among the insights reported by investigators at the midpoints of their new research supported by the National Rosacea Society (NRS).
Rosacea may occur significantly more often in both identical twins than in fraternal, or nonidentical, twins, according to Drs. Meg Gerstenblith and Daniel Popkin of Case Western Reserve University. The researchers found at least some rosacea in 129 individuals out of 242 pairs of identical twins and in 12 individuals out of 59 nonidentical pairs of twins at the Twin Day festival, an annual event that drew 2,090 sets of twins nationwide in Twinsburg, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The researchers noted the association held true even after such common rosacea risk factors as age and skin type were accounted for in the calculations, suggesting that genetics may play a role in rosacea as well as other factors. Twins participating in the study also answered questionnaires to help define the relative contribution of potential rosacea risk factors as well as the impact on quality of life, and the investigators are now performing statistical analyses.
In other ongoing studies, Dr. Anna Di Nardo at the University of California-San Diego found that when mice were treated with mast cell stabilizers in skin tissue surrounding blood vessels and nerves, inflammation did not develop. She now plans to determine whether these stabilizers may be useful in reducing skin redness and flushing.
Another way to block rosacea’s effects may be to interrupt the process of chemical interactions that leads to its signs and symptoms. Dr. Yoshikazu Uchida at the University of California–San Francisco has identified a biochemical pathway that may lead to inflammation, and has begun to study the impact of inhibiting that pathway.
Dr. Barbara Summerer at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has begun taking biopsy samples of skin with rosacea to evaluate whether there are characteristic bacteria for each rosacea subtype, and to identify possible biofilms.
Drs. Ulf Meyer-Hoffert and Thomas Schwarz of the University Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, have succeeded in cloning specific proteins from the interleukin family to identify whether the microbes they affect may contribute to rosacea inflammation in a variety of ways. The researchers will also investigate inhibitors that may be useful in treating the disease.