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Microorganisms of the Human Microbiome

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For a long time microorganisms of the skin microbiome have been suggested as a cause of rosacea. The list includes, bacteria, virus, and demodex mites. Further, there are some papers that suggest that the gut microbiome may be involved in rosacea. One article comparing identical twins and the skin microbiome reports "Microbial dysbiosis could be one of the factors associated with the pathogenesis of rosacea as well as its comorbidities." [1] This same study concluded, "Our data demonstrate a significant correlation between facial microbiome and severity of rosacea in genetically matched twins and importantly that overall microbiome composition is largely unchanged." Further the study states, "Specifically, we uncovered a positive and a negative association for Gordonia and Geobacillus with rosacea, respectively. Importantly, this was in the background of a largely unchanged microbiome landscape."

Research into the human microbiome has enhanced our understanding of the importance of this subject and one paper explains:

"The analysis of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) fragments from the human microbiome is emerging as a novel tool for understanding the pathogenesis of human disease. Metagenomic approaches for investigating microbial genomes are being used to determine the potential roles of the microbiotas of the gut, skin, blood, and other human derivatives in chronic inflammatory diseases." [6]

A Bias With Bacteria as the Focus of Rosacea Research and the Human Microbiome

Th study mentioned previously, [1], focuses primarily on bacteria, i.e., Gordonia, Blautia, Chryseobacterium, Wautersiella, Geobacillus and unknown genus (phylum Proteobacteria). Most rosacea research papers have a bias towards bacteria and largely ignore other microorganisms in the microbiome such as virus, archea, fungi, protozoa, helminths, and demodex (the article made a cursory mention of demodex, but little discussion on this subject). The human microbiome has a huge diversity and bacteria is simply only a very small part of it. [2]

Such bias towards bacteria that ignores these other microorganisms is found in most articles on rosacea since Western Medicine largely ignores these other microorganisms and with very little research. This results with such a paltry knowledge of what might be some significant factors in rosacea other than focusing on bacteria. For example, there are more virus in the human microbiome than bacteria by a factor of ten times yet very little research is done on virus and rosacea. The bias is that bacteria plays a chief role in rosacea resulting in mostly antibiotic treatments and more recently a little probiotic treatment.

An example of a "study [that] provides a glimpse into the skin microbiota in rosacea and its modulation by systemic antibiotics" clearly shows a bias toward bacteria and ignores any other microbes of the skin microbiota. [5] Another study into the blood microbiota in rosacea patients focused entirely on bacteria ignoring all other microbes in the blood. [6]

Research on Other Microbes Besides Bacteria?

The role of the other microorganisms besides bacteria should warrant more attention but who will pay for such studies? Demodex has been an example of the most researched microorganism other than bacteria studies. [3] This is because there are now treatments for demodectic rosacea so there is motive to fund such studies. We are grateful that pharmaceutical companies who treat demodectic rosacea fund studies on demodex and rosacea. 

What about research on the other microbes that are in the human microbiome such as virus or protozoa? What role does archea play in rosacea? Do you want to fund such a study? Could 10K members of the RRDi get together and each donate one dollar to fund such a study? Only with your help could we reach such a goal. Think about it. [4]

End Notes

[1] Exp Dermatol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2019 Jul 16.
Published in final edited form as:
Exp Dermatol. 2018 Mar; 27(3): 295–298.
Characterization of the facial microbiome in twins discordant for rosacea
Asifa K. Zaidi,1 Katrina Spaunhurst, Daniel Sprockett, Yolandas Thomason, Margaret W. Mann, Pingfu Fu, Christine Ammons, Meg Gerstenblith, Marie S. Tuttle, and Daniel L. Popkin

[2] Human Microbiome, Brady Barrows

[3] Demodectic Rosacea

[4] More thoughts on this subject to think about:
Rosacea Research in Perspective of Funding
Rosacea Research in Perspective of Idiopathic Diseases

[5] J Clin Med. 2020 Jan 09;9(1):
Characterization and Analysis of the Skin Microbiota in Rosacea: Impact of Systemic Antibiotics.
Woo YR, Lee SH, Cho SH, Lee JD, Kim HS

[6] Dermatology 2019;235:255–259 DOI: 10.1159/000496968
Characterization of the Blood Microbiota in Korean Females with Rosacea
Yeojun Yun, Han-Na Kim, Yoosoo Chang, Yunho Lee, Seungho Ryu, Hocheol Shin, Won-Serk Kim, Hyung- Lae Kim, Jae-Hui Nam

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Yes I think we have to pay attention to the other skin-microbiome interaction also which tend to play a role in rosacea especially I was thinking of bacteriophage (bacteria+virus) which might play a role in rosacea and very few research is going on this rosacea and the idea of research on this theme would open up a new direction for rosacea. Think out loud.

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