Scientists make breakthrough in rosacea treatment research
Medical scientists in the US have identified a potential rosacea treatment pathway in the form of a cell membrane protein called TRPV4.
The scientists were studying the disease process of inflammation in rosacea and found a “missing link” between rosacea triggers and inflammation in mast cells, found at the interface between the nervous system and vascular system. They discovered that these cells activate antimicrobial peptides called cathelicidins, which are involved in the immune response that is over-produced in people with rosacea.
In the study funded by the National Rosacea Society (NRS), the scientists found that one of the proteins in cell membranes, TRPV, facilitates communication between cells and plays a key role in activating these mast cells in people with rosacea.
Using mice bred to exhibit human-like rosacea symptoms, they injected cathelicidins and saw significant increases in the production of TRPV4, and also determined that TRPV4 regulates the inflammation caused by mast cells. This was then tested and confirmed in human mast cell cultures.
The team further identified that by turning off a protein receptor on mast cells known as MRGX2 they were able to prevent TRPV4 from reacting to cathelicidins, which in turn prevented the mast cells from triggering an inflammatory immune response associated with rosacea.
“Although more work needs to be done, these findings suggest that potential therapies may be developed specifically to block TRPV4 as a direct means of treating or preventing inflammation in patients with rosacea,” said Dr Di Nardo, associate professor of medicine of the University of California-San Diego and lead scientist on the team.