Bacterial cause found for skin condition rosacea

August 29, 2012

Scientists are closer to establishing a definitive bacterial cause for the skin condition rosacea. This will allow more targeted, effective treatments to be developed for sufferers, according to a review published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Rosacea is a common dermatological condition that causes reddening and inflammation of the skin mostly around the cheeks, nose and chin. In severe cases skin lesions may form and lead to disfigurement. Rosacea affects around 3% of the population - usually fair-skinned females aged 30-50 and particularly those with weak immune systems. The condition is treated with a variety of antibiotics, even though there has never been a well-established bacterial cause.

A new review carried out by the National University of Ireland concludes that rosacea may be triggered by bacteria that live within tiny mites that reside in the skin.

The mite species Demodex folliculorum is worm-like in shape and usually lives harmlessly inside the pilosebaceous unit which surrounds hair follicles of the face. They are normal inhabitants of the face and increase in number with age and skin damage - for example, following exposure to sunlight. The numbers of Demodex mites living in the skin of rosacea patients is higher than in normal individuals, which has previously suggested a possible role for the mites in initiating the condition.

More recently, the bacterium Bacillus oleronius was isolated from inside a Demodex mite and was found to produce molecules provoking an immune reaction in rosacea patients. Other studies have shown patients with varying types of rosacea react to the molecules produced by this bacterium - exposing it as a likely trigger for the condition. What's more, this bacterium is sensitive to the antibiotics used to treat rosacea.

Dr Kevin Kavanagh who conducted the review explained, "The bacteria live in the digestive tracts of Demodex mites found on the face, in a mutually beneficial relationship. When the mites die, the bacteria are released and leak into surrounding skin tissues - triggering tissue degradation and inflammation."

"Once the numbers of mites increase, so does the number of bacteria, making rosacea more likely to occur. Targeting these bacteria may be a useful way of treating and preventing this condition," said Dr Kavanagh. "Alternatively we could look at controlling the population of Demodex mites in the face. Some pharmaceutical companies are already developing therapies to do this, which represents a novel way of preventing and reversing rosacea, which can be painful and embarrassing for many people."
-end-


Microbiology Society

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.