Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators as Resolution Pharmacology for the Control of Pain and Itch

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2023 Jan 20:63:273-293. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-051921-084047. Epub 2022 Sep 13.


Specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), including resolvins, protectins, and maresins, are endogenous lipid mediators that are synthesized from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids during the acute phase or resolution phase of inflammation. Synthetic SPMs possess broad safety profiles and exhibit potent actions in resolving inflammation in preclinical models. Accumulating evidence in the past decade has demonstrated powerful analgesia of exogenous SPMs in rodent models of inflammatory, neuropathic, and cancer pain. Furthermore, endogenous SPMs are produced by sham surgery and neuromodulation (e.g., vagus nerve stimulation). SPMs produce their beneficial actions through multiple G protein-coupled receptors, expressed by immune cells, glial cells, and neurons. Notably, loss of SPM receptors impairs the resolution of pain. I also highlight the emerging role of SPMs in the control of itch. Pharmacological targeting of SPMs or SPM receptors has the potential to lead to novel therapeutics for pain and itch as emerging approaches in resolution pharmacology.

Keywords: TRP channels; neuroimmune modulation; neuroprotectin; nociceptive sensory neurons; omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; resolvins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation* / drug therapy
  • Pain* / drug therapy