Resolution phase of inflammation: novel endogenous anti-inflammatory and proresolving lipid mediators and pathways

Annu Rev Immunol. 2007;25:101-37. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.25.022106.141647.


Resolution of inflammation and the return of tissues to homeostasis are essential. Efforts to identify molecular events governing termination of self-limited inflammation uncovered pathways in resolving exudates that actively generate, from essential omega fatty acids, new families of local-acting mediators. These chemical mediator families, termed resolvins and protectins, are potent stereoselective agonists that control the duration and magnitude of inflammation, joining the lipoxins as signals in resolution. This review examines the mapping of these circuits and recent advances in our understanding of the biosynthesis and actions of these novel proresolving lipid mediators. Aspirin jump-starts resolution by triggering biosynthesis of specific epimers of these mediators. In addition to their origins in inflammation resolution, these compounds also display potent protective roles in neural systems, liver, lung, and eye. Given the potent actions of lipoxins, resolvins, and protectins in models of human disease, deficiencies in resolution pathways may contribute to many diseases and offer exciting new potential for therapeutic control via resolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / immunology*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lipoxins / biosynthesis
  • Lipoxins / immunology*
  • Organ Specificity / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipoxins
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids