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Proresolving Mediators & Inflammation

By Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)

Huntington College of Health Sciences

Inflammation is a major mechanism involved in many human diseases. Since prolonged inflammation is detrimental to the host, higher organisms have evolved protective mechanisms to ensure resolution of the inflammatory response in a limited and specific time- and space-manner. Once thought as a mere passive process of dilution of inflammation, resolution is today envisioned as a highly orchestrated process coordinated by a complex regulatory network of cells and mediators.1

Proresolving Mediators
Among the molecules that facilitate resolution, resolvins, protectins and maresins generated from omega-3-fatty acids are the lipid mediators that have attracted most attention. These endogenous anti-inflammatory and proresolving mediators counteract the effects of pro-inflammatory signaling systems and act as “braking signals” of the persistent vicious cycle leading to unremitting inflammation.

In fact, the same pro-inflammatory factors that initially trigger the inflammatory response also signal the termination of inflammation by stimulating the biosynthesis of proresolving mediators. Resolvins, protectins and maresins and have been shown reduce airway inflammation, dermal inflammation colitis, arthritis, and postoperative pain. Studies have shown that these mediators increase with time during the inflammatory process.2-4

While all omega-3 fatty acids can help generate resolvins, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), an intermediate in the biosynthesis of DHA from EPA, is a particularly effective precursor to four different resolvins, namely, RvT1 (1), RvT2 (2), RvT3 (3) and RvT4.5 Despite this, DPA is not always seen in omega-3 fatty acid products. It can, however, be found in some cod liver oil products.


  1. Clària J. Resolution of Acute Inflammation and the Role of Lipid Mediators. ScientificWorldJournal. 2010; 10:1553–1555.
  2. Recchiuti A, Serhan CN. Pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) and their actions in regulating miRNA in novel resolution circuits in inflammation. Front Immunol. 2012 Oct 22;3:298.
  3. Serhan CN. Novel Pro-Resolving Lipid Mediators in Inflammation Are Leads for Resolution Physiology. 2014 Jun 5; 510(7503): 92–101.
  4. Spite M, Serhan CN. Novel lipid mediators promote resolution of acute inflammation: impact of aspirin and statins. Circ Res. 2010 November 12; 107(10): 1170–1184.
  5. Primdahl KG, Aursnes M, Walker ME, Colas RA, Serhan CN, Dalli J, Hansen TV, Vik A. Synthesis of 13(R)-Hydroxy-7Z,10Z,13R,14E,16Z,19Z Docosapentaenoic Acid (13R-HDPA) and Its Biosynthetic Conversion to the 13-Series Resolvins. J Nat Prod. 2016 Oct 28;79(10):2693-2702.

Professor Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the Provost for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 37 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at gbruno@hchs.edu.