Because inflammation is appreciated as a unifying basis of many widely occurring diseases, the mechanisms involved in its natural resolution are of considerable interest. Using contained, self-limited inflammatory exudates and a systems approach, novel lipid-derived mediators and pathways were uncovered in the resolution of inflammatory exudates. These new families of local mediators control both the duration and magnitude of acute inflammation as well as the return of the site to homeostasis in the process of catabasis. This new genus of specialized proresolving mediators (SPM) includes essential fatty acid-derived lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, and, most recently, maresins. These families were named based on their unique structures and potent stereoselective actions. The temporally initiated biosynthesis of SPM and their direct impact on leukocyte trafficking and macrophage-directed clearance mechanisms provide clear evidence that resolution is an active, programmed response at the tissue level. Moreover, SPM that possess anti-inflammatory (ie, limiting PMN infiltration) and proresolving (enhance macrophage uptake and clearance of apoptotic PMN and microbial particles) actions as well as stimulating mucosal antimicrobial responses demonstrate that anti-inflammation and proresolution are different responses of the host and novel defining properties of these molecules. The mapping of new resolution circuits has opened the possibility for understanding mechanisms that lead from acute to chronic inflammation, or to the resolution thereof, as well as to potential, resolution-based immunopharmacological therapies.