Doctors have for some time noted that rosacea does tend to run in some families, but the genetic proof was lacking. A recent study which involved a collaboration between researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the commercial genetics company 23andMe set out to identify a genetic link.
23andMe customers submit saliva samples in order to have their genes sequenced. For this study, customers who were of European descent, which is the ethnic background most associated with rosacea, were asked to take a survey.
They were asked if they were ever diagnosed with rosacea. People who answered “yes” were placed in one category, and those who answered “no” were in the control group.
A total of over 5,000 rosacea patients and over 46,000 patients had their genetic makeup analyzed during the course of this study. After analysis, two different significant areas of single genetic changes were seen consistently in the rosacea group. Of medical and scientific interest, these two areas were near genes known for their role in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Overall, the gene abnormalities identified in the study support the idea that there is a significant genetic component to rosacea. This idea being verified will help to guide for the research to better understand and treat rosacea. With more and more research being done in gene-based therapies, such therapies will be a hopeful area for research in the future.
In addition, many researchers will also be looking into the association of rosacea with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. This may also be another fertile area for research in the future. Unfortunately, based on this research alone, no new recommendations for treatment of rosacea can be made at this time.
As always, I will keep you up-to-date on any new research as it becomes available in the cutting edge area of skin care and aesthetic medicine.