What is the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the pathophysiology of rosacea?

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
  • Author: Agnieszka Kupiec Banasikowska, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Early in the inflammatory process, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are released by neutrophils, which are postulated to have a central role in the inflammation associated with rosacea. Free radicals, such as superoxide anions and hydroxyl radials, in addition to other reactive molecules, such as molecular oxygen, singlet oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide, comprise many of the ROS that lead to oxidative tissue damage. Several mechanisms explain how ROS result in skin inflammation, most notably the deactivation of natural defenses caused by excessive oxidant stress from ROS; chemical and oxidative modification of proteins and lipids by ROS; alteration of the lipid balance in rosacea patients, which, in normal proportions would suppress the creation of ROS; production of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators by keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells damaged by ROS; and the generation of ROS by cathelicidins, which are found in greater amounts in the facial skin of affected individuals. [13]

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