Dietary and endogenously modified lipids modulate inflammation by functioning as intra- and intercellular signaling molecules. Proinflammatory lipid mediators such as the eicosanoids compete against the signaling actions of newly discovered modified fatty acids that act to resolve inflammation. In inflammatory bowel disease, multiple aberrancies in lipid metabolism have been discovered, which shed further light on the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation. Mechanisms by which lipids modulate inflammation, abnormalities of lipid metabolism in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease, and potential therapeutic application of lipid derivatives in this setting are discussed.
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