Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors in rosacea

Justine R. Smith, Virginia B. Lanier, Rita M. Braziel, Katherine M. Falkenhagen, Clifton White, James T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background: Rosacea is a common chronic disease of unclear pathogenesis, characterised by inflammation and vascular abnormalities of the facial skin and ocular surface. Recognising that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is vasoactive and has inflammatory activities, the expression of this molecule and its receptors, VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2, in rosacea was investigated. Methods: Formalin-fixed, paraffin wax-embedded sections of skin obtained from 20 patients with rosacea were immunostained to detect expression of VEGF, VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2, using an indirect methodology incorporating antigen retrieval. Adjacent sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Results: Biopsy specimens were characterised by perivascular and perifollicular lymphohistiocytic infiltration and dilated vascular channels. In addition to keratinocyte and epithelial staining, which was also noted in normal skin, vascular endothelium frequently stained positive for VEGF-R1 (14/20, 70%) and VEGF-R2 (20/20, 100%), but infrequently for VEGF (2/20, 10%). In most specimens, infiltrating leucocytes, including lymphocytes, macrophages and plasma cells, expressed VEGF (17/20, 85%), VEGF-R1 (20/20, 100%) and VEGF-R2 (20/20, 100%). Conclusion: Expression of VEGF receptors, both by vascular endothelium and infiltrating mononuclear cells, is observed in rosacea. Although not expressed by endothelium, VEGF is present in epidermis and epithelium, and is expressed by infiltrating cells. VEGF receptor-ligand binding may contribute to the vascular changes and cellular infiltration that occurs in rosacea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-229
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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