Lipoxins are potent antiinflammatory lipid mediators that restrain and promote the resolution of a wide variety of inflammatory processes. Recent studies implicating deficient lipoxin production in the pathogenesis of diverse inflammatory diseases, along with numerous reports of the beneficial effects of lipoxin analog administration in animal models of inflammatory pathology, have suggested that harnessing the pleiotropic activities of the lipoxins is a strategy with considerable therapeutic promise. In this issue of the JCI, Bafica et al. address the other side of the coin, reporting that endogenous lipoxins compromise immune-mediated control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in mice. In addition to providing novel insight into the mechanisms that interfere with the development of protective immune responses to M. tuberculosis, the study raises the possibility that pharmacological inhibition of lipoxin synthesis may provide a method of augmenting inefficient immune responses in TB and other important chronic infectious diseases.
Christopher L. Karp, Andrea M. Cooper