Identification and signature profiles for pro-resolving and inflammatory lipid mediators in human tissue

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2014 Jul 1;307(1):C39-54. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00024.2014. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Resolution of acute inflammation is an active process locally controlled by a novel genus of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPM) that orchestrate key resolution responses. Hence, it is of general interest to identify individual bioactive mediators and profile their biosynthetic pathways with related isomers as well as their relation(s) to classic eicosanoids in mammalian tissues. Lipid mediator (LM)-SPM levels and signature profiles of their biosynthetic pathways were investigated using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS)-based LM metabololipidomics. LM and SPM were identified using ≥6 diagnostic ions and chromatographic behavior matching with both authentic and synthetic materials. This approach was validated using the composite reference plasma (SRM1950) of 100 healthy individuals. Using targeted LM metabololipidomics, we profiled LM and SPM pathways in human peripheral blood (plasma and serum) and lymphoid organs. In these, we identified endogenous SPM metabolomes, namely, the potent lipoxins (LX), resolvins (Rv), protectins (PD), and maresins (MaR). These included RvD1, RvD2, RvD3, MaR1, and NPD1/PD1, which were identified in amounts within their bioactive ranges. In plasma and serum, principal component analysis (PCA) identified signature profiles of eicosanoids and SPM clusters. Plasma-SPM increased with omega-3 and acetylsalicylic acid intake that correlated with increased phagocytosis of Escherichia coli in whole blood. These findings demonstrate an approach for identification of SPM pathways (e.g., resolvins, protectins, and maresins) in human blood and lymphoid tissues that were in amounts commensurate with their pro-resolving, organ protective, and tissue regeneration functions. LM metabololipidomics coupled with calibration tissues and physiological changes documented herein provide a tool for functional phenotypic profiling.

Keywords: eicosanoids; inflammation; resolution; resolvins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Aspirin / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoxins / blood
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolomics* / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Phagocytosis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Essential
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipids
  • Lipoxins
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Aspirin