Lipoxins: resolutionary road

Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Oct;158(4):947-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00386.x. Epub 2009 Sep 28.


The resolution of inflammation is an active process controlled by endogenous mediators with selective actions on neutrophils and monocytes. The initial phase of the acute inflammatory response is characterized by the production of pro-inflammatory mediators followed by a second phase in which lipid mediators with pro-resolution activities may be generated. The identification of these mediators has provided evidence for the dynamic regulation of the resolution of inflammation. Among these endogenous local mediators of resolution, lipoxins (LXs), lipid mediators typically formed during cell-cell interaction, were the first to be recognized. More recently, families of endogenous chemical mediators, termed resolvins and protectins, were discovered. LXs and aspirin-triggered LXs are considered to act as 'braking signals' in inflammation, limiting the trafficking of leukocytes to the inflammatory site. LXs are actively involved in the resolution of inflammation stimulating non-phlogistic phagocytosis of apoptotic cells by macrophages. Furthermore, LXs have emerged as potential anti-fibrotic mediators that may influence pro-fibrotic cytokines and matrix-associated gene expression in response to growth factors. Here, we provide a review and an update of the biosynthesis, metabolism and bioactions of LXs and LX analogues, and the recent studies on their therapeutic potential as promoters of resolution and fibro-suppressants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Lipoxins* / biosynthesis
  • Lipoxins* / metabolism
  • Lipoxins* / physiology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / physiology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Lipoxins
  • Aspirin